They’re cute, they’re fluffy and they’re the best squad in town! Meet ‘That Dood Squad'!
When Kim first got Jake, a Golden Retriever puppy, he was full of energy; always running around and playing with his big brother, Wrigley. Jake and Wrigley played together as any siblings would, chasing each other around. Jake may have been tiny, but he was mighty because of his overwhelming amount of energy. He often would tug at Wrigley’s tail while they were playing which caused Wrigley to lose a lot of the fur on his tail.
Jake soon lost this energy. When he was about four months old, Jake started experiencing severe seizures. After multiple trips to the vet, they finally found a combination of medications that helped control Jake’s seizures. Although this was good for Jake, the vet warned his family that Jake’s seizures could be a sign of serious brain issues since they were starting so early in his life. Jake’s family had to prepare themselves for the worst as they did not know how much longer they had with Jake. They try to remain positive by being grateful for every day they have with him and cherishing every moment with him.
After Jake turned two years old, another problem surfaced. His family noticed that his eyes were no longer producing tears. They took him to their vet’s eye specialist who tried every medication that was available, along with multiple surgeries. Nothing was working and Jake’s eyes were slowly deteriorating.
Jake started developing painful corneal ulcers and there was a risk that they would rupture. Jake’s family was faced with an extremely painful and difficult decision. They needed to choose one of two options. They could either have Jake’s eyes removed or they would have to put him to sleep.
Jake’s family struggled with this decision. Kim, Jake’s human mommy, said how both options seemed cruel, especially since Jake had been through so much in the past and they did not want to put him through more hardships.
Over the next few days, many people who owned blind dogs reached out to Jake’s family and told them about their experiences. They told Jake’s family how resilient their dogs were after losing their sight and that even though it was hard in the beginning, they were able to persevere and go back to their normal, healthy and happy lives.
In addition to the pet owners consulting Jake’s family, their vet also gave them advice. Their vet told them that to a dog, sight is the third most important sense; both smell and hearing are more important to dogs. This helped Jake’s family realize that Jake would be okay without sight and it may not be as hard as it seemed for him to live with blindness.
With all of this information in mind, Jake’s family made the decision to have Jake’s eyes removed in November 2017. After his surgery, the vet came back to Jake’s family with great news! Immediately after Jake woke up from her surgery he began wagging his tail. This meant his months of pain were finally over. Jake was so happy and wanted to let everyone know he was feeling better.
Jake becoming blind meant that he and his family needed some time to adjust, which was a little difficult but Jake did not let it discourage him. Kim said that Jake did great during this period, “He constantly surprised us with the ease in which he seemed to approach his new circumstances.”
Although Jake still bumps into things from time to time, he is able to navigate around the house and outside with ease. In addition, Jake’s playful nature has returned and he is back to his happy self.
“We’re so happy we made the choice we did, and so grateful for the many people who encouraged us to do so,” Kim says. “Jake reminds us everyday that his life still holds great purpose and value in spite of all of his challenges.”
Addie played a big role in helping Jake adjust to his new life. In fact, after his surgery Addie would not leave his side. Addie stuck by Jake and helped him navigate stairs when he got scared. Kim said Addie would meet Jake halfway up the stairs and guide him. Addie also wears a bell on her collar so Jake can easily find her when they go on walks. Addie even helps Jake stay active by always playing with him; Jake loves spending time with Addie and even stuffs his toys in her face when he wants to play.
Jake and Addie have their own Instagram account where they pose for cute photos and work to inspire others, which can be found @thegoldensrule.
Khaleesi is a two and a half year old Golden Retriever with an amazing personality. She is a sidekick to her human mommy, Ashley, and her human daddy, Nick. Her mommy just recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Nurse Anesthesia and her daddy is a physician. Khaleesi follows in their footsteps and became a certified therapy dog only a few months after she turned one. Since then, she has been bringing smiles to both patients and staff, and everyone she meets.
In an interview, Ashley said that she had always wanted a Golden Retriever so she was so excited when her husband got Khaleesi when she was accepted into Nurse Anesthesia School. “We knew from day one that she had an incredible personality,” Ashley said. “People always comment on how calm she is. It’s like she knows who needs her and gravitates towards them.”
Khaleesi’s parents knew she was special because of her laid back and friendly personality and her intelligence. Khaleesi excelled when it came to her obedience training, which her family was able to begin when she was only nine weeks old! Around 7 months old, her family began “off-leash training”, which was breeze just like her obedience training since she is so easy to train. One of Khaleesi’s trainers made a comment to Ashley when Khaleesi was very young. They said she had the perfect personality to become a therapy dog; this was no surprise to Khaleesi’s family.
In order for a dog to become a certified therapy dog, they need to take a certification test. This can only be done when the dog is one year old or older, so Khaleesi’s family waited until few months after her first birthday to test her.
Khaleesi passed the test with flying colors!!
Last August, Khaleesi’s family started taking her to the Mission Hospital, which is located in Asheville, North Carolina. The Mission Hospital was Ashley’s main clinical site for anesthesia rotations, so she was familiar with the hospital. This made it a perfect place for Khaleesi to get started. Since Ashley was a busy Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist student, she had a tight schedule, which meant it was tough to find time to take Khaleesi to the hospital. She tries to take Khaleesi to the hospital for at least an hour every week. Her and Khaleesi also go on special staff visits during holidays, like Valentines day and Halloween. On Halloween, Khaleesi even got in the spirit by dressing up as Minnie Mouse!
Ashley spoke about how Khaleesi absolutely loves going to the hospital and “working”. She loves getting to snuggle with everyone and being spoiled with attention and love from patients and staff. To Khaleesi, her trips to the hospital are so much fun and she makes everyone’s days at the hospital, which is such a great thing to see.
While Khaleesi is princess who loves to be spoiled and pampered by her family, she is always down for outdoor adventures. Even though she has some outdoor allergies, these don’t stop her. Ashley says Khaleesi is a “tomboy and princess puppy all in one.” Some of Khaleesi’s favorite things to do are hiking with her family in Asheville and swimming anywhere she can, no matter what the weather is. Khaleesi loves posing for pictures during her adventures and these pictures can be found on her Instagram, @Khaleesithegldn. Khaleesi loves to get dirty outside, but once she returns home, there is nothing she wants more than a bath. Ashley explained that Khaleesi will jump into the bathtub and bark until someone gives her a bath. While Khaleesi is bathed and dried she likes to pretend she is at the spa, and she will fall asleep.
Overall, Khaleesi has an incredible personality and never fails to make people smile and laugh. In Ashley’s words, “She is a super sweet, fluffy puppy. She is truly an angel.”
By Ashley, Nick & Khaleesi @khaleesithegldn @adnccrnaprncs :)
A couple of months ago, I was looking for a healthy treat recipe for my pups and I ran into Melissa's recipes. She has so many delicious ones to choose from but I chose to make the Veggie Frittata. Let's just say the pups ate it so quick that I don't think they had the opportunity to savor it like I would have..haha
That night I decided to contact Melissa to see if she was interested in sharing with us what inspires her to make these delicious recipes for our pups and to tell us more about her cookbook. Check out the interview we did with Melissa, Chef and Founder of Proud Dog Mom. If you have any comments please feel free to comment below!
C+P: What inspired you to create recipes for dogs?
Melissa: From the time I was a little girl, I've always had dogs in my life (at one point during my childhood, we had six poodles). While we viewed our canine companions as close family members, they ate commercial treats and store-bought dog food. And we didn't think anything of it. That is, until my family experienced a few health scares. About a decade ago, my mom's toy poodle experienced intestinal bleeding from rawhide bones. A few years later, a close family member's dog developed a long-term kidney disorder as a direct result of munching on tainted commercial treats. So, when I brought my two fur babies home, I became very interested in dog nutrition. As a former news reporter, I guess you can say I redirected my curious nature from local crime to dog food! Today, I make 100% of my dogs' treats, and most of their meals are also homemade. I will say—it's a rewarding feeling to see them enjoy a meal or snack that I spent the time to cook!
C+P: Do your pups get to try out all the delicious recipes you make?
Melissa: Absolutely! My two dogs had a very important job when I was creating my dog treat cookbook, Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes—they were my taste testers! Every recipe in the book, and also on my blog, have been approved by my little Diego and Gigi.
C+P: What’s your pup’s favorite recipe?
Melissa: There are so many! I try to keep a collection of homemade biscuits, jerky, and veggie chips in the fridge at all times so they have variety. But they are currently going crazy over my all-natural chicken jerky, mini salmon burgers, coconut kale chips, and grain-free Buckwheat Bones (which are filled with banana and peanut butter .. yummm).
C+P: Are these recipes easy to make?
Melissa: I always strive to make my recipes easy. Some are easier than others. For example, frozen treats are simpler than biscuits because they're really just pureed fruits, yogurt, and other semi-liquid ingredients mixed together and popped into a mold. It's the same with jerky and chips—just thinly slice your ingredient and lay it on a baking sheet to dehydrate in the oven. While my biscuits take a tad more prep—because you have to knead the dough and stamp out your shapes—they're still totally doable for someone who doesn't consider themselves a culinary expert!
C+P: What recipe are you going to share with us and why did you choose this one?
Melissa: I'm sharing my Banana Bread Soft Chews. It's one of my most popular recipes because unlike most of my other biscuit recipes—which create a crunchy snack for your canine companion—these soft chew dog treats are … well … soft on the inside. Once baked, they have more of a bread or cake-like texture. Since they don’t require any real jaw power to chomp through, they’re perfect for both baby and senior Fido … and every age in between!
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin purée
1 mashed banana
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a small baking sheet (9x13”) with parchment paper. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl, add coconut flour and ground flaxseeds. Whisk together. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, eggs, mashed banana, and coconut oil. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix together with a spoon until thoroughly combined and consistency reaches a thick batter. Spoon your thick batter mixture onto the baking sheet, creating an even layer approximately 1/4” thick. Let mixture set for approximately 5 minutes.
Once on baking sheet, use a knife to score both horizontal and vertical lines, creating little squares. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once completely cooled, break or cut treats along the scored lines. You will be left with little square treats.
What I love mostly about Melissa's recipes is they’re really healthy recipes for dogs and that is something I always look for when I make treats for my pups. If your pups loves the recipes that Melissa has shared with us, make sure to grab her cookbook at Amazon!
Bon Appétit Puppers!
More about Proud Dog Mom at www.prouddogmom.com
Peace & Love,