Kira: 2 years

I know so much of my blog has been centered around Zach. But I am due to give you an update on our dog Kira. Kira celebrated her 2nd birthday in July with us, it’s hard to believe because we feel like we have had her so much longer.

Having a dog door at this new house has been life changing, although sometimes she still looks at the door and waits for our permission to go out. Two huge fenced in yards to play in is a blessing too. Kira spent a good deal of her summer running around the trees in the front yard or laying on her back sunning herself in the grass.

Kira loves that we have property to explore. Every couple of days she goes to Luke begging for a WALK, not just to play in the yards. She knows the route through the trees well and we can trust her off leash. If  her nose leads her down a different trail, Luke can whistle and she will come back to the house within a few minutes.

She is learning some new tricks living in the Northwest.  When we go to a coffee kiosks she thinks “if I poke my head out , they will see my cute face and give me a treat.”

Kira loves her cousin Pepper, the two of them wear each other out playing, which is great for us. We have to not say Pepper’s name for a few days after a visit or Kira looks for her and gets excited. Kira loved going to the beach and Lakehouse this summer. She seemed less scared of the dock then last Christmas and wanted to stick her whole head in the lake on a canoe ride.

She did great when the niece and nephews were here; she loved playing with the smaller humans.

On that note, it has taken Kira a few months to warm up to Zach. At first she didn’t know what he was and was shy. She was a little upset that I wasn’t playing  with her during the day and asked for attention often when I was breastfeeding, I guess she thought I was just sitting and relaxing.

All of a sudden Kira has realized Zach is part of the pack, a young fur-less puppy. She gets excited every morning, or when we come home to greet him. Now we have to keep her from licking his face constantly. A few days ago I filled a water bottle with dried rice as a rattle for Zach. Well, Kira loves water bottles and was unsure why this wasn’t her toy. I gave her one of her own and that seemed to concrete something in Kira’s mind. Now she is protective of Zach too and is shaping up to be a good furry big-sister.





Pupsicles for Kira

It’s a hot summer; a very hot summer for the northeast. Everyday is in the high 80’s to 90’s with humility, weather we don’t normally see until the end of August if at all.

In-spite of the heat, Kira loves being outside even if that means she’s panting and over heated when I finally call her in.

So how to keep Kira cool?

I’ve been pursuing pintrest and found an easy solution: pup-sciles .


You can buy puppy ice-cream and pup-sciles these days in high end stores. Although I did see one even at Walmart the other day. But they can get expensive. Why not make something cheaper at home?


Besides, I already make our own popsicles and fudgesicles at home during the summer. For more on this see:

So for pup-sicles, I started with little plastic used lemon ice cups that can be used once or twice then thrown away. Kira loves to chew through anything, especially if it’s had food in it, so I didn’t want to use my tupperware.


Then I took a batch of frozen bananas, about 5 or six, and defrosted them in a bowl.

Hint: If you have bananas that are getting brown throw them in the freezer, they are great for smoothies and to replace eggs in baked goods.


When bananas get really ripe, frozen, then defrosted you can cut open one side of the banana and then use the peel to slide the banana goo into a bowl. I know it sounds gross but that is pure natural sugary goodness.


Then I spooned in about 1 Cup of natural peanut butter. I’ve learned to use low or no sugar natural peanut butter because Kira will get hyper off of the sugary stuff, and it’s healthier for us too.


Next I scooped out about 1 Cup of coconut oil. With how dry and hot this summer has been Kira’s coat is getting dry and she’s scratching herself often. Coconut oil is great stuff for lots of reasons but for dogs the oil helps to keep their skin moist and hair shiny.

A little vanilla extract and cinnamon and I blend it all together until smooth like peanut butter or cookie dough.

Then I spooned these evenly into the rinsed out and clean lemon ice containers. It gave me about 6 of these cups 3/4 full.


So now we have a healthy dog treat that will keep Kira cool and help heal her dry itchy skin that she actually LOVES to eat!


For those who like easier to read instructions here you go:


1 C natural or low sugar peanut butter

1 C coconut oil

1 bunch 5-6 large banana either over ripe or frozen and defrosted

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

6 cup size containers (or more depending on serving size you want to give)




Mix all ingredients on high with a blender or electric mixer until smooth

spoon out mixture evenly among the containers

place filled containers into one larger tupperware bin or tray

move tray to freezer for at least 2 hours or until ready to give to your puppy!




This is also a great mixture to use to fill Kongs or other treat dog toys.

Even better fill those toys with this mixture then stick them in the freezer. When it’s a hot day or you will be gone for most of the day take it out of the freezer and your dog will be happy for quite awhile.




Happy Birthday Kira!

Kira our hound/terrier mix puppy is a year old! I say puppy because she may now have a mostly adult body but she still has the energy of a puppy.


We don’t know her actual day of birth, but we estimated based on paperwork and guessed she was born around the first week of July.


To make it easy to remember we decided to give her the birthday of 4th of July. When I told my family this, my grandmother said she is a firecracker puppy! My mom agreed saying she is definitely a firecracker.


Kira at 8-10 weeks old


Kira a few weeks before her birthday

Kira is very curious and full of spunk. Mostly obedient now, she still will test the boundaries. We are now working on teaching her to settle, to calm down and sit when she sees a cat, person, etc. outside and wants to hunt or to guard us. We are also hoping to teach her roll over very soon.


For her birthday treat she got homemade whipped cream with blueberries and a homemade banana, oatmeal, and peanut butter treat. I know a little spoiled.


trying very hard to be obedient as I take a picture


She also has some new toys coming in the mail. We are trying out a few new toy brands for our super chewer, more on that to come.

Kira update: adult puppy


Our puppy Kira is 11 months old; an adult puppy. She has not lost her puppy coat and she has times of crazy energy but she knows the rules and routine and follows them (most of the time) without stubbornness.


Since our last update we have done a genetic test on our furry family member to discover she is not a lab at all! She is mostly American foxhound, American Stafford Terrier, and a little Chow.


We had guessed she could be part chow because some siblings are very fluffy, plus she has spots on the bottom of her tongue, typical of Chows. We would not have guessed the other breeds, but with research about personalities and behaviors it makes sense. She is all nose, can track anything, but she is also all muscle, very agile, and alert. So we have a tracking/hunting dog also with guarding instincts.


With all the yard work we have been doing (more to come). It has been a task keeping  her from eating the fertilizer, plant food, weed killer,  (even gravel) that we have been laying down. It’s like she is a two year old with shiny objects.


We just recently went back to Stony Brook and were able to do the full trail both ways! In the past Kira’s attention span meant that we only would make it part way. This time the park was crowded but she did not jump on a single person, something we have been working on. For more on this see:


Even though she is almost an adult, Kira still has many new experiences. At the park she was curious but afraid of balloons and strollers both items she has not seen before.


This past week Kira had another new experience, the groomers.  In the past she has been scared of brushes, not a huge fan of baths, and requires treats  to  cut her nails. With this in mind, I stayed for the appointment.


I was shocked and impressed at how well she did. The groomer was able to not only clip Kira’s nails and give her a bath but also trim down her winter coat with an electric shaver, something I thought she would be completely scared of. But the groomer was great with her and Kira is adaptable.


It’s hard to believe we have had Kira in our home for nine months. She has challenged and frustrated us, but also impressed and surprised us. We are glad to have her.



Kira update

Kira is now 6 months old and definitely in her awkward teenager stage where not all of her body is the same or right size.


She loved having my parents here last month and it was a great opportunity to practice not jumping on people.

But it definitely confused her routine and we have been working on that this past month while I’m off of work. She’s getting used to the new routine quickly and now knows the time of day to look out the window waiting for Luke to get home.



She loves the snow even more than she did the fall leaves. She rolls around in it, loves digging for sticks in it, and snacking on it while she runs around. Our first day of snow she wasn’t even surprised by it just took it all in and ran in circles.


Kira has almost all of her adult teeth in, there was a week or two where her back molars hurt so much we had to give her some orajel (which she hates).  She has also a week ago was neutered. She did so well with the procedure and  is healing very quickly.


Kira with post surgery with her favorite soothing toy: leather stuffed animal

She has learned most of her commands well and now we are working on lay (lay down), and shake (shake off when wet). She also has a habit of chasing her tail until dizzy.


All in all she is turning out to be a wonderful, smarty little puppy.

Busy Holiday Season

It has been a very busy holiday season. Because I am a teacher not only is the holiday season busy because of holiday parties, gift-buying, etc. but also because I am grading final project and proctoring finals.


I am in the count-down, not to Christmas, but to the end of the semester. T-minus 8 days. In those 8 days I have 25 final tests and 17 research papers to grade. Almost there (with many cups of coffee).

That of course does not include:: taking, creating, and writing holiday cards, strategizing long distance about presents and wish lists, and planning holiday travels or outings.


In this busy-ness it is difficult to focus on the importance of the season, to find rest, to be present in the traditions and activities. But I have managed to enjoy participating in our church Christmas choir, going caroling, and of course holiday baking (more on this to come). These types of actives help me de-stress and re-focus.


This weekend Luke and I plan to get and decorate our Christmas tree and  the outside of the house. Both will be new challenges since we were not home last Christmas.

Plus we have to consider what to put on the tree with a curious almost 6 month old puppy (who I have already had to scold for trying to steal candy canes off a shelf).


But I am looking forward to it and am going to do my best to be in the moment enjoying these activities instead of thinking about grades and grading.

Anyone else struggle to stay focus on the importance of the season? Some advice I am working on myself: take breaks, do de-stressing activites, rest, laugh, determine to not over multi-task, and get time for yourself and others.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

Kira’s first outting

Our lab-mix puppy Kira is now a little over four months old.


The past few months adjusting to a puppy have been a fun challenge. It was entertaining to watch Kira discover fall winds, rain, baths. It was especially enjoyable to watch her jump into the neat piles of fall leaves Luke made with the blower.


Through this process we have had to not only be patient with her as she became potty trained, and learned new commands, but we also had to be patient for her to be old enough to go out with people.


Finally she has all of her booster shots and her rabies shot. To celebrate last weekend we took her for her first official “non-vet” outing to a local state park: stony brook (for more on this see stony brook park). We got set with water, bags, training treats, and collapsible water bowl then drove to the park.


Although it was cold it was beautiful. There were many starts and stops along the way as Kira pulled on her leash, got over-excited, and went off the trail. The further into the trail we went the more she became comfortable with the pace and staying by our side.


We were not the only ones at the park. It was not crowded at all but there were some people and dogs. Kira loves people but is still learning about the different sizes and breeds of dogs.


It was a great chance to show her how to be social. But it also made us realize we still need to train her to not jump on people when she is excited and wants to greet them.


I was all set for a vigorous walk but quickly realized-this was a training session. We did not come close to completing the trail but it was beautiful and I know we will go back soon.