Happy Birthday Niko!

Happy 1st Birthday Niko!

You are beautiful – and loving, and deep down you still are fierce. Though you can no longer see my face, and your body fails you time and time again I see you. I see your beautiful face, and the love in your eyes – though vacant – oh they are so full of love.


I could look back on these past six months as a time of struggle – but I really don’t. I do however take it as a time of learning, and a journey on a continuum that i had started several months – years before.

But really what is a struggle? After all – I am not where Job was – he literally lost everything. Bless the Lord above I am not Job.

We’ve always had a “tough” dog. Dad travels a lot, and we feel rest assured to have a protection dog to alert us when danger is near. After Tyler our beloved Rottweiler died we had adopted your brother Eli. You two shared the same mom, but had a different dad. We spent a glorious 3 months with him, but at his age of 5 months – he passed tragically away.

He had the same love of eating EVERYTHING that you do Niko –  except he wasn’t able to pass things as easily as you.

After your brother died we were absolutely devastated and broken. We had lost two of our dogs within three months, and had a little 15 pound Jack Russell protecting our house! She may be little, but she does a great job.

We went out to the farm where your mom and dad live to spend some time with other Corso’s just like you! Your breed has near magical powers that make people feel so loved in an indescribable way. When we were there we learned that your mama was going into heat and would have another litter soon.

Between November and December we anxiously awaited your arrival and were so excited to learn at the winter cabin that you were born! I’m sure outsiders thought we were adopting a human baby because of our excitement level. Our hearts leapt, and came out to see you and your litter-mates as soon as we were able.  We chose you! You were so calm and sweet and a tough little man.

We had a countdown calendar to the day we could take you home, and officially call you ours.

The night we took you home we cradled you in our arms, and sometimes even now I can still see that expression on your face when you lay across my lap desperately trying to be that 15 pound puppy we once knew.

Oh how we had high hopes for you!

We immediately put you in obedience training – both puppy kindergarten and obedience. You had a strong willingness to learn, and caught on very easily.

Unfortunately – mid December when you were just 11 months old we learned that you went mysteriously blind, and suffer from Ataxia. You have trouble walking at times, and fall down a lot. We built a ramp for you out our back door, and see how much you try to map out our backyard. You are incredibly determined, and I think you will overcome this obstacle.


We chose your breed to take care of us, but it seems that we are taking care of you. We’ve learned so much from you in just one year Niko. We’ve learned patience like no other and complete trust. You have to trust fully in us to see for you and those times when your legs give out you trust us to bring you to a safe spot.

We will protect you and love you Niko- like you would have protected us. We hope dearly to celebrate many more birthday’s with you, but are truly blessed for each moment we have with you now!!


~ Love Mom & Dad 

Minnesota – Week 14


Life with puppy has been going wonderful! I swear this is the most low key dog we’ve ever owned. He is very go with the flow, and very low energy. We just took Niko to our brand new veterinarian today,  for shots and an exam (After a lengthy and thorough search I think we finally found a new and good vet clinic since we’ve dealt with a bit of hell with our old ones)… and things went really good. Niko checked out perfectly. This new vet seems pretty legit. His favorite dog breeds include Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers, so I think he’ll be very comfortable with our Corso. He actually listens to us, and shares some of our same opinions, (read: thinks its ridiculous to neuter dogs at 6 months old due to stunting proper growth development, and can lead to osteosarcoma) and is very affordable so I think we’ll stay with him for a while.

Niko Stats:
11 Weeks
24.6 Pounds
Eats aproximately 3 cups of Large Breed Puppy – Nutrisource three times per day.

Sadie Stats:
2 years, 7 months
20.5 pounds (a wee bit overweight)
Eats just a handful of low fat NutriSourse three times per day. I just bought Just a WEE BIT small breed dog food since the low fat wasn’t doing a THING. Just as people NEED fat to loose fat I’m going to see if the same idea applies to dogs. Currently her food has 9g of fat per serving, and the new food has 18g of fat. Also now that its nicer out I hope to exercise her more.

Niko is becoming more much more playful and alert. Was very sleepy the first week or two we brought him home. Still takes lots of naps, but is awake for about an hour or more at a time now before sleep takes over.

Favorite toys right now are:
* Kips tail (likes to try to play tug of war WITH the cat), slowly getting over that in turn for chasing the cats and asserting his dominance over them.
* Ropes (supervised)
* Licking peanut butter out of Kongs
* Rubber Tug/chew toys
* Likes to play tug (we win every time).

He sleeps in the kennel next to our bed at night, and quiets down fairly quickly without much help. Sleeps from about 11pm-6am, or midnight to 7:00 a.m. He’s right on cue, so I hardly even need an alarm clock. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night, but for the most part, he sleeps about 6-7 hours per night.

During the day he is in the hallway and bathroom (bathroom is puppy proofed) and he has toys , and a rest area. He doesn’t even pout when we leave him there, and isn’t going off the wall bonkers when we get home. Luckily with this wild MN weather Jason has been home many days which is helping out HUGE in the socialization and potty training department. Honestly he hardly ever has an accident. (Quick find some wood for me to knock on!)

Wednesday evenings he goes to puppy playtime to get some socialization with other dogs. He is doing exceptionally well, and although I feel like I’m bragging, he’s doing better than several of his classmates that are older than himself. I’ve told Jason I bet he could do agility once he’s older. We’ll possibly continue on that.

He has been to the groomer officially. Doesn’t love being sprayed with water, but doesn’t mind the drier. I hope he likes the water since we go camping and fishing and are always on the water.

He gets along with Sadie, our Jack Russell Terrier. They love to snuggle together for naps, and romp around during playtime. They both like to gang up on the cats which we’re trying to break them of. They usually go after our torishell Manx Breanna who is more sensitive anyways. They hardly ever go after Kip.

We recently signed up for barkbox.com. Have you ever heard of it? It seems pretty awesome…. Each month you receive a box in the mail filled with new and cool toys like bumi brand and natural dog treats and training treats etc. Its cool because you get new toys, and new treats for about the same cost as you would spend regardless. Plus a part of the proceeds goes towards animal rescue.


Thats it for now. Stay tuned for another PupDate!

Minnesota (er CA) – Week 10

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Just two weeks ago we came home from a much needed break in Carlsbad California, near San Diego. Jason and I hadn’t been to California (where we used to live) in 9 years so it was super fun to be back. Here’s a down and dirty of our 7 day Vacation with photos of course!

Saturday 2/22
We arrived in Sunny and warm California! Our flight over was good, and K thought flying was pretty fun. After we got up to our hotel in Carlsbad we walked across the ocean and walked along. K thought the ocean was pretty cool until she got knocked over by a wave, and then she determined the ocean was no longer “fun” , or safe to be in.

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K’s first time at the airport, and first time on the walkway.

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Sunday 2/23
We hopped in the car and drove east for three hours to visit one of my very best friends from the Navy who now resides in Arizona. We had a picnic lunch with her and her family and the kiddos got to play at the park while Shawna & I drank wine. [side note: did you know that you can buy wine at the grocery store on Sundays in CA?] We drove through some remarkable scenery, but it was nice to be back at our hotel after a long day of driving.

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Monday 2/24
We met up with our friend Lisa and her boyfriend Evan and headed down to SeaWorld. We all enjoyed looking at the animals, but K did not appreciate getting splashed by Shamu. (Probably didn’t help that the water was freezing!) Later we went out for dinner, and had steaks, lobsters and fish.

Kiri feeding the seals at SeaWorld

K feeding the seals at SeaWorld

Tuesday 2/25
Pool & beach day! We spent the day at the pool swimming in 66 degrees, and at the beach walking in the waves and enjoying fish tacos at the pier. Most of the locals had coats on, but we were hardy Minnesotans so 66 degrees felt like a great. I even managed to get sunburned pretty bad although we kept K covered in sunscreen. We met up later with my old boss from the Navy at a delicious Mexican restaurant. it was so fun to catch up.

At Oceanside Pier

As you can see we're the only ones in the pool!

As you can see we’re the only ones in the pool!

My favorite picture of Jason & Kiri.

My favorite picture of Jason & K.

Wednesday 2/26
Back in the car for a day at San Diego Zoo. It was so much fun seeing all of the animals that we don’t have in MN including Koala bears, elephants, and kangaroos. K did an exceptional job walking what we can only guess was 5-6 miles. After the zoo we ate at West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad. Our appetizer was crab cakes which were to die for! For dinner I had West Australian Loster tail and a glass of Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay. Jason had a 40 day aged house special steak, and K had fancy macaroni & cheese. She did exceptional at this obvious fancy restaurant, and we even had a stranger come up to our table to tell us that K was very well behaved.







Thursday 2/27
We met up with our friends Lisa & Evan again and had breakfast together in Oceanside. Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to them as they had to return for work in AZ. After breakfast Jason and I headed north to the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and drove through Laguna, Huntington Beach, and then just kept going north. We drove through the ghettos of Long Beach & LA and then found ourself in magnificent Malibu. (which is just south of where we used to live). We drove through the canyon and hung out at the mall I used to work at in Thousand Oaks California. We then had a 3.5 hour drive back to our hotel in Carlsbad.

Making a sand castle at the abandoned Huntington Beach.

Making a sand castle at the abandoned Huntington Beach.

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The PCH coming into Malibu.

Friday 2/28
Last day! We woke up to Typhoon like conditions so it wasn’t going to be a typical beach day, or outdoors day. We did stop and have breakfast at this cute cafe where I had the most delicious french toast! They made it out of Croissant rolls. It was to die for! After breakfast we drove around Carlsbad for a bit and stopped by another mall to walk around and beat the rain. After the mall we were heading back to the hotel when I asked Jason to drop me off down the beach (there was a break in the rain) and I walked along the beach while listening to some of my favorite songs (Oceans, Hillsong), and just prayed and stared out into the ocean that God made with his hands. It moved me to tears, but it was a cool moment.

Croissant french toast and a mimosa.

Croissant french toast and a mimosa.

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You call me out upon the waters…

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Sea kelp washed up on the beach from the storm.

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The beach which I walked upon.

Saturday 3/1
Sadly, our vacation came to an end… but waiting at home for us……

As of 3/14 – We have officially welcomed Niko into our home (just last night) and so far he’s doing great! Today he’s perked up quite a bit, and I think is starting to realize that we are his new pack. So far his “toy” is the cats tail. He grabbed it with his teeth and started playing tug of war with it until Kip bopped him in the head… and then he sat right in front of Niko waiving his tail in his face watching out of the corner of his eye.

We put him in the kennel a few times before “bed time”, and he howled. It was cute because we were still awake… but soon it was bedtime. Jason has the big kennel sectioned off and next to his side of the bed, so he slept sideways, and half off the bed with his hand by the kennel to reassure Niko. He actually did pretty good. We had our alarm set for every three hours to wake up and let him out. So far he’s only had two accidents in the house, and the rest have been outside. GO NIKO!

We plan to socialize today with some friends and reminisce over our trips (they were in Mexico). Jason’s brother Miah is bringing his Olde English Bulldog, and Boston Terrier to play. The three males in our larger pack getting together. We will have them meet in small doses. But I think they will get along great.



Down & Dirty Updates:
Miss K is doing exceptional at school. She is now reading small sentences with ease, and is doing exceptional at other subjects as well.

Me: I am the proud new owner of Kettelbells! Post vacation I’ve had absolutely ZERO desire to go to the gym. So this is something nice I can do at home, and will hopefully start running outside again. I have a few triathlons planned for this summer including a 5K I would love a good time at.

Jason: He has been busy building two beautiful permanent gates for the dogs at our house. Work is going well for him, and he’s been working in town since October which is such a huge blessing to us.

Minnesota – Week 9

Meet Niko {PupDate}


So as many of you know we lost our very sweet Eli last September. Its taken me until very recently to even talk about what happened. I can’t quite describe the grief I felt with loosing Eli.

Last September he had gotten sick, and after Web Md’ing him… I was convinced it was an obstruction. I had brought him to the vet who didn’t think that was the case. After probing him numerous times, he said no… he had just gotten into something. Well… a week went by and he didn’t get any better. The following Friday was the worst day of my life…. he was in septic shock when we woke up, we rushed him to the vet and were going to surgery but we were too late. He instead died a tragic death.

I completely blame the vet… but we’ve decided not to push legally on them. Sadly I learned a valuable lesson now that if you feel that something is wrong… Even if you are not “professional”, to trust your gut!

I haven’t cried so hard about anything… but loosing Eli… was something I can’t even describe in words. That kind of pain, and loss that we went through – are still going through….

Fast forward a few months later – Eli’s mama became pregnant again with a new litter (and a new dad)… and had his beautiful half brother Niko! (knee-coh). The day we picked him out {last Sunday} I fell absolutely in LOVE with him! I absolutely cannot wait to bring him home next weekend!

Socializing will be a bit more interesting since we still have 90 inches of snow on the ground, but I plan to bring him to the pet store as soon as he is all up to date on his shots, and i’ve heard rumors that the Home Depot will let you bring a pup in the cart with you…. so I plan to roam the aisles with Niko in the cart. Stay tuned for pictures of that!!!

As soon as its warm enough, you can bet your bottom dollar we will be down at Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet, and Market Fest in WBL…. and any parade near us we can find! 🙂 I am so looking forward to Niko’s arrival, and while he will never ever replace Eli, he has already won a special place in our hearts!

Minnesota – Week 3

Well, we’ve determined one thing.

Sadie HATES the kennel.

She got “banished” to the kennel a few weeks ago because she was lazy and decided to poo and potty in the house twice overnight. We recently purchased a metal wire kennel in anticipation for the new puppies arrival and thought Sadie would be perfectly safe in there for the day. I gave her a treat, kept the light on, and told her she was a good girl and went off to work.

Upon my return home, my husband told me that the dog was and I quote, “Dead to him”. I said, “Why?” so Jason told me to look in the room, and boy did I find a surprise.

Not only did she eat through the plastic flooring of the puppies brand new kennel, but she chewed the carpet down to the plywood in our bedroom! (guess we need new carpeting).


But she also managed somehow to pull Jason’s $100 Silver jeans into the kennel and chew them out of spite, or hatred for the fact that she was in the kennel.


The craziest part is that she is completely nondestructive when she’s not locked up. So for now, she gets free reign of the house.

In a week or two I’m going to the store to get these magnetic locks for the bathroom cupboards to put our new puppy in the bathroom while we’re off at work. We still have a few things to get ready before he comes home, but we still have 7 weeks. 🙂


Well as most of you know by now (if you’re on Facebook) we lost our sweet Eli on September 20th. I think the reason he was so sick was due to an obstruction. So we are grieving still. We are overwhelmed with their support. I will write a full post some day.

Last weekend was “marathon weekend” and despite the rain & drizzle it was a great weekend! Normally I ride a golf cart behind the last [official] runner, and sweep vehicle, and this year I was able to ride my bike. I usually biked up ahead at least a 1/4 mile to 1.5 miles ahead of the sweep, which was really enjoyable. I was able to talk with the volunteers more, encourage more runners, and just overall do my job easier. So I think this may be a tradition going forward.
Jason is all done traveling [for now at least] and has been making some MAJOR improvements in the backyard! He filled in the pond with a bunch of dirt and made a rustic retaining wall.
Little miss has conferences next week, and I’m excited to hear how she’s doing. She recently passed to the next level at gymnastics, and we’ve enrolled her at Foss Swim School because its much closer to home than Life Time. We really love LTF, but it makes for a stressful Monday.
Sunday’s at our house are all about relaxation, football [Jason] church & house group (which is like a bible study type thing in the evening. Just I go to this 🙂 )

Weekend Recap

Well this past weekend Jason, Kiri and I were supposed to be vacationing on the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County, but instead I got inundated with work, and Jason had to go out to ND.

While he was gone Eli decided to go off and get sick, and by sick I mean both ends baby! Now, normally I make Jason clean up ALL of the puke spills, because if I do it there will be two puke piles instead of one, but unfortunately this was not puke, this was much much worse. SO I put on my big girl panties and got some rubber gloves, a roll of paper towels, and chemicals. Lots of chemicals!
I took Eli to the  vet on Saturday where he received a shot that DID stop the vomiting, but did not do much for the never ending diarrhea. (side note: do you know that I never knew exactly how to spell diarrhea until this weekend?)
Eli’s appetite went down significantly as in not at all, and my nerves have been shot. The vet didn’t think he felt an obstruction and chalked it up to some kind of toxicity of something he ate. Basically, ride it out for a few days and call on Monday/Tuesday if he’s not doing better. Even now as i’m writing this Eli just dropped another shit bomb in the living room. All I have to say is thank JESUS for our laminate flooring! This would NOT be good on carpet. Yes, I will be calling the vet in the morning!
What else went on this weekend? Well we missed gymnastics due to Eli’s sickness, but I did manage to uuuber clean the house. I mean top to bottom, loads of trash out, and chemically cleaned up the whole thing. I can’t tell you how nice it is to live in a clean house (minus the shitting).
I never used to be an “over cleaner upper”, but after this weekend I am straight addicted to the smell of cleaner. I know this isn’t healthy, but either is inhaling the stench of dog shit.
Mom worked on getting caught up on Weeds [the TV show], and Kiri played with the neighbor girl a lot!
Today was church, napping, relaxing, and cleaning up more shit.
What did you do this weekend? Comment below.

Friday Fast Facts

1.) I am starting to become convinced that Eli drinks extra water, so that he goes potty outside more – so that he can get more treats… I’m on to you dog!

Speaking of Eli- we went up to the Breeder to get his final “puppy” shots and the breeder said he looks absolutely great, stunning. She couldn’t believe how HUGE his paws are, and stated that he already has adult size paws. She guestimates he’s going to fill out to a muscular 120lbs!

2.) I asked K if she was excited for Uncle Rick’s & Auntie Nicole’s wedding and she said, “Oh yes… I’m excited for them to born (pronounced Bore-en) their baby tomorrow too!”

me: Come again?

K: “well after they say I do, and kiss a baby will be in her tummy, and then they’re going to the dance, and eating cake, and then they will go to the hospital to born their baby Natalie.

Maybe she knows more than the rest of us??……..

3.) Tomorrow I gain a sister, a niece and a nephew. I have the huge privilege of taking all of their [“professional”] photos!

4.) I have a new favorite summertime wine. I love love love red wine, but in the summer I like a nice chilled white. I discovered this little diddy recently: Mommy’s Time Out. You should try it!


I understand if you don’t want to read this post. It’s hard to read… and its hard to write.

Thinks went ok. I guess according to plan. Friday night we went to Cub and got two huge steaks to give to Tyler as a sort of “last meal”. He absolutely loved it, and was the most he’s eaten in quite a while. We’re actually hopping Sadie starts to lose some weight now, because she is only supposed to have 1 cup total per day, and Tyler was getting 2.5 cups, and Sadie was eating a whole lot of his since he wasn’t eating.

Anyways – Saturday morning I woke up “early” probably a quarter to 8 or so – just knowing what lay ahead of us for the day. We spent some time loving on Tyler and getting some last pictures/videos of him before we took off for the vet.

We couldn’t have asked for a better Vet to go to. We didn’t even have to wait at all in the waiting room, and we arrived at about 10am for our 10:15 appointment, so that was super nice. I think it would have been much more difficult if we would have had to wait in public. “Oh what are you guys here for? I hope your dog feels better soon!”….  I wore my sunglasses much of the first half of the appointment… so nobody could see the hurt in my eyes, including Tyler. I felt safe behind them.

They had a nice blanket laying down on the floor, and the CVT took some photos of K, Jason, Tyler and I. We then took off his collar and gave his neck a good last scratch. Then the CVT gave him a sedative, which did not put him to the unconscious state that he was supposed to be in. We “joked” that Tyler didn’t want to leave us… so they gave him another whole dose of sedative, and out he went snoring loudly, and not responding to any pain at all.

The very nice Vet came in and went through some stuff, of course the standard, “I’m sorry for your loss”… and also commended our bravery for ending Tyler’s pain that morning.  She checked Tyler out and said that he will have absolutely no part in the final injection, and that he’s already at peace. And then with Jason and I holding Tyler’s paws and petting his head she started looking for a good vein. They did a 10x anesthesia dose, and were able to get a vein after shaving 2 or 3 of his paws. They [books/online] say it takes 30 seconds to a minute, but he was gone in about 5 seconds flat.

The Vet listened to his heart  as he had some twitching, and his brain telling him to start breathing very hard, but all the while in a very calm and soothing voice Dr. Gail just kept telling us that it was the last bits of positive energy leaving his body. The whole ordeal was incredibly sad and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done before.  Dr. Gail all the while listening with her stethoscope said she couldn’t hear any heart beat, that he was gone… and that it was just normal bodily functions, and the last bits of energy…  That part was really helpful.

They took a clay paw print and then helped to load him into my car and wrapped him in a blanket. It took putting him in the wheelbarrow to bring him to the back….which seemed sad but we wheeled it back and laid him to rest. I helped toss some dirt on him, and Jason built a cross to put at the head. K wrote the name “Tyler” on the cross, and Jason soldered it in, and we slung his collar on the top of the cross.

There is definitely a presence missing. I feel the lack of him in the house. Even though we still have 4 pets, he was such a large presence (literally) that it just seems so empty.

As time goes on – the pain will ease up. I try not to think too deeply about it though. Eli is already eating out of Tyler’s dog dish which made me cry at first, but Eli is trying his darndest to fill his older brothers shoes…

The time is near

Tyler’s time is near. Three days. Maybe two. Probably three. (Saturday)…. Playing God – or what I feel like what I’m doing doesn’t feel right, yet it feels so right. 

I can see that Life is still deep in this big boys eyes… begging to be let free… 



I’m begging, and pleading to God to show me, tell me that we’re doing the right thing, and that we’re not killing our best friend.

He spends all but moments mostly laying around – not doing anything but keeping as still as possible to let the pain go free.

He gets up to go outside – to be respectful of the house, but that 30 foot walk is like a marathon despite the mass amount of pain meds we’re giving him.

I’m mad and bitter and angry towards you Cancer. 

Growing up I’ve never had a dog, and have actually been scared of [most] them most of my life. Until we got you Tyler. 

And of all the dogs we could get we get a supposed QUOTE “aggressive” breed dog, which you certainly are not.

I have met a kind of love that is second only to the love my child brings me. 

Tyler – I do not want to let you go. But is this [keeping you here] for my benefit or yours? Whats the right call?

Please don’t think I don’t love you. I love you so so so much.

I’m going to miss waking up next to you in my bed… thinking that you are Jason… with my arm and leg draped over you…. You sneaky Tyler – even laying on Jason’s pillow trying to blend in!

I’m going to miss you waking me up in the middle of the night and barking for no fucking reason at all.

I will miss the time you ate my cell phone…. and the fact I only have 4 out of my 35 pairs of shoes left…..

I’m going to miss finding your hair in my lunch box at work, and hair all over my clothes…. It annoys me now, but i’m going to miss it.

I’m going to miss your amazing tolerance and love for chocolate! (yes he’s had over a whole pound of chocolate and not even gotten sick)

But most of all I’m going to miss how safe you’ve made me feel, for laying next to K’s crib after she was born…

and for the unconditional love you’ve given me and the love for dogs I now have.

I love you Tyler… Soon you will run free…..