Category Archives: fundraising

I am so far behind!

Sometimes life gets in the way of writing a menial blog post- despite me having every intention of updating everyone on our progress. Klaus is completely healed now, perfect timing for the warmer weather that will hopefully be swooping in soon? It feels like we had a late start to Spring but tomorrow is looking decidedly nice!

My husband has been jogging with Klaus when we can and he has started to fill out nicely. He still looks a little lopsided in the hips, but I think he will always be that way as the left hip isn’t 100% perfect. Plus I imagine he had some stress and torque to the spine growing up with pain in the hips.

I have plenty of pictures to upload- hopefully in the next couple of days as well as a video or two of Klaus showing off his new hip. The transformation is truly miraculous- to see him run after a frisbee after being crated for so long, and prior to that completely restricted by being on a leash!

Something not so menial however……..I wanted to bring your attention to a sweet pup named Gracie who I had the pleasure of meeting last night. In case I hadn’t made it apparent in this blog (I believe I laid mention to it a few times) but I am a hockey fan. Not a sports fan- hockey and hockey alone. This season we have had soooo many opportunities to go to our local AHL team’s games- the Syracuse Crunch (farm team to the Tampa Bay Lightning). They have had a terrific season, and last night’s win over Rochester was AMAZING!

Besides it being an entertaining and rowdy game, I had the pleasure of meeting Gracie and her owners. The Crunch had generously paired up with them to offer a trio of raffles in support of raising money for her hip replacements. I felt compelled to go share my story with them, and donate what I had (mere change which was all I had in my wallet at the time!). They are only in the beginning stages of their journey but I want everyone to take the time to like her facebook page, Hips4Gracie and keep her in your thoughts. A dysplastic diagnosis is super tough to take on, let alone the financial strain and arduous recovery period that will follow!



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Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, Pets

A penny for Penny!

On the eve of Klaus’ freedom walk I am reminded of the journey it took to get here. A very long, stressful, and EXPENSIVE journey. It’s a journey that sadly a lot of pet owners must travel. I want to bring to your attention the journey of a boxer named Penny. I stumbled upon her story via instagram and couldn’t help but feel like such a mother hen to her and her parents- I just wanted to take them under my wing and say it will be alright. Penny just struck a chord with me……


From her owners:

2012 was a rough year. We’ve paid over 4000+ in vet bills just in these last two years. My first pup, a 2 year old boxer, had a catastrophic heart attack at only 2 years old. His heart couldn’t go on regardless of how much we tried saving him. He passed away in my arms as I was running into the emergency room. Roughly, about 8 months later, my female boxer was really sad and depressed all the time and had slowed down. We then learned that she had been diagnosed with early stages of hip dysplasia, quickly we looked for the best possible way to aid her pain and get her back to 100%. We had a procedure done, that cost us 2500 dollars, called Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy. She showed great improvements and her pain was gone, the stem cells had done their job. She was getting ready to start her rehabilitation therapy to get her muscle growing back again and get her back in shape, and that was going to cost us another 1200 dollars. Out of nowhere she started limping in her right hind leg. Just this last week we found out that she had torn both cruciate ligaments in both knees (ACL Tear). Now she needs surgeries in her in both of her knees that are going to cost 3800 dollars total plus rehabilitation. Recently, my job has slowed down a lot. I hardly get by with rent and still paying off these vet bills that just have been racking up and now we need to have these procedures done and we are completely drained credit and savings both I’m not asking for much and I never ask for any help, but I’m in desperate need for my dog’s wellbeing. All I want is for them to live a normal and happy life. If anyone can donate anything at all, anything is appreciated; I would greatly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. My dogs are like my kids I will die for them


Heartbreaking right? Not only is the passing of their other pup still fresh in their minds, but they are struggling with trying to get Penny back to being a dog again. There are a bunch of ways you can help out:

Their CHIPIN site:

PayPayl donations to:

Their friend has generously set up a sale through her ETSY store: “Use code: SAVEPENNY to take 20% off your entire order and half the proceeds go towards a great cause! Penny is a 2-year-old boxer who has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and two torn ACL’s. She is in a lot of pain and desperately needs surgery! To donate directly, send anything you can to through paypal! Thank you!”

I’ve already placed an order for a custom embroidery and will gladly donate as much as I can. Seriously folks, even a small donation helps. I speak from experience. It is beyond humbling to have to ask for help. It’s even more humbling when people come forth with their generosity. Please help them out in any way you can- this includes spreading the word of Penny!

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Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, Pets

Diagnosis: hip dysplasia. Now what?

I promise even though I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write, I have felt the inspiration and have been roughing a few out in my head.

First off I am such a bad puppy parent to not fully celebrate Klaus’ second birthday which was Jan 3. But let’s be honest, the little shit got a great gift this year- a new hip and a new lease on life. So that’s that. Here are some baby Klaus pics that are still some of my favorite!





It got me thinking about the lengths some owners will go through in hopes of prolonging or bettering their pets lives. That’s not to discredit those who aren’t able to- whether financially or emotionally. But lets face it, whether or not good ol Uncle Sam recognizes them as true tax write offable offspring, they are our children and just as time consuming and money draining as “real” kids are.

So when an owner squares off with the diagnosis “your dog has hd” (or any other terrible condition), its devastating to say the least and is just as difficult to deal with if you were hearing the same thing about any of your loved ones.

In response to an awful lot of sad news I’ve seen via Klaus’ instagram followers- I want to really focus on our diagnosis, journey and experience in hopes of shedding some light, and well, hope really.

Our end result is so very close. We are two weeks shy of Klaus having total freedom again. January 20 is our “all systems go” day.

It has been tough, and not one Im looking forward to doing again. His left hip’s arthritis has progressed noticabley since his last radiographs. It is my hope that he will continue to use his bionic hip more and therefore lessen the stress on the left. But I suppose we will get there when (and if) we get there.

Afterall, our decision to do a total hip replacement was in fact a salvage surgery for the left in repairing of the right. It was one of the main reasons why we went with the “cadillac” of hip surgeries.

1.In the beginning………. In the beginning we had our concerns. Concerns we swayed with online diagnosis underlined with naivete and hope. Large breed dogs are known to go through rather painful growth spurts and subsequently growing pains aka panosteitis and we had ourselves convinced that the lameness and bunny hopping and super sleepy days were the result of pano. Around this time we were doing agility and everyone I spoke with, the trainers and other dog owners who experienced the same, all said “he’ll be ok. he’ll grow out of it. you’ll see”. Except what we saw was a detirioration in his gait- lots of swishing and swaying and total reluctance to sit. His stance was anything but square, rather crooked and he’d push his bad hip out when he sat. He’d slip and yelp out in pain and lay there for a moment.

2. Diagnosis………. I don’t understand gut feelings but I think it’s important to really listen to your intuition, you know “better safe than sorry”. Despite all the reassurrances we knew something wasn’t right. We couldn’t wait and see any longer. We had to know. Our vet took raidiographs and our suspicions were confirmed but could not be 100% verified until we met with the orthopedic surgeon.

3. Hindsight and the blame game………. Hindsight is great to have after the fact (and is only available after the fact). Had we tried to not convince ourselves otherwise, we might have been able to get him into an earlier procedure, a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). But it’s important not to dawdle or dwell but rather trudge forward with the task at hand. When we got the diagnosis, and after I completely broke down into a fit of swearing and tears I began to play the blame game. Why did we wait to get him diagnosed? Did we switch his food up too fast and therefore encouraged growth too fast? Did we let him play and run too much as a pup? Did we not look hard enough into his lines? In the end shit sometimes happens. I won’t say I didn’t continue to struggle with blame and guilt along the way, because I did. But I know our decision to not turn our back on our family member was a justifiable one- and one I still continue to have to justify to this day. * You won’t believe the nastiness I still combat with because Klaus is from a breeder!

4. Research………. Anytime someone is faced with a super hard surgical decision, it seems obvious that knowledge is power. In our case it was utterly and exhaustingly overwhelming- though very much necessary. I took this project head on and on a daily basis. It felt like a part time job. I began looking into any and all options, including some not so conventional ones. I sent away for brochures and literature. I signed up for message boards. I desperately sought out any and all tidbits of information that would help me make this decision. And ultimately only you can make this decision- something many times I wished someone else would for me. I asked the vets if Klaus was their dog what they would do- with mixed opinions.

5. Second opinions………. Get at least one other opinion. Though our second opinion was spot on with the first, we discovered a much better fit financially with Cornell, a teaching school and subsequently a much better fit bed-side manner wise. Our first surgeon quoted us at $7-9k and was rather gruff about everything. Cornell quoted us $4-6k with our final cost around $5k. I recommend really seeking out a teaching college. But regardless of where you go you must feel comfortable.

6. Brainstorm………. I don’t know about you but my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck. He owns his own business and I was faced with having to make a tough transition of full time employment with benefits to self employment and freelance- a transition that even on the best day is fleeting and not consistent in pay! Being a crafty person by nature and a designer at heart I set to work creating items I would sell in hopes of raising the funds. At the pressing of friends and family and even perfect strangers, we were encouraged to create a donation page. Consider creating a blog- not only as a way for people to get to know you and your pet, but I know in the end it was integral to my sanity.  Have a garage sale- or two- or three. I did a lot of research on grants for vet bills. It is a permanent page on my blog that can be found here: aid for vet bills. Although sadly a lot of these organizations are tapped out financially it doesn’t hurt to try and apply. You won’t know if you qualify until you do.

7. CareCredit………. If you haven’t already at this time applied for CareCredit, you should definitely do so. Most places won’t even consider your application or plea for help until you do so. It can be used for many other health care related issues, not just for pets but for humans as well! Makes me think I should probably consider a trip to the dentist with it 🙂

8. In the meantime………. In preparation for Klaus’ surgery we were tasked with the almost impossible need to keep him restrained to prevent his hip from popping out. How can someone restrict a puppy?! Remember Klaus was diagnosed around 8 months old. It broke our heart to prevent him from being a puppy but we had to. He was leashed at all times. Puppy play dates were essentially canceled- at least the free roaming ones. We began physical therapy, increased his supplements, massage and stretching. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be lucky enough to find that putting them on supplements and adding a swimming regiment is just enough. We kept Klaus trim and lean and switched out his treats for ones with added MSM and Glucosamine.We prepared our home for Klaus’ 8 weeks of confinement. We moved our bed downstairs. We created a penned area for him with extra padding. Consolidated his beds into one fluffy pile.

9. Be flexible………. Despite all the preparation we did it was important for us to be able to adapt and be flexible. Things we originally thought would help us- a larger penned area, one in the living room and one in the office- did not work a week after his surgery. He was anxious all the time and attempted to get out. The crate, though it broke our heart, was our best friend. What also worked better than I thought was leaving him crated in the living room while I did work in the office- out of sight.

10. Set aside alone time……….Whether that means straight up “me” time or making it a point for you and your significant other to get out of the house and not think about your troubles at home. There were plenty of times I just needed to go driving. My husband would come home and find me sitting on the kitchen floor, hands over my ears to drown out the barking, streams of tears running down my face. Though we didn’t have a lot of extra cash, my husband and I attempted date nights still. It was important and necessary as a way to destress. I imagine it works the same in any sort of stressful scenario- sometimes normalcy, even if it’s just pretending, is just what you need to feel grounded again. I know it helped to snap me out of the shit storm.

In the end would we do it again? YES! Given our particular scenario we would. And every owner and their pet is different. Klaus has what we hope is a long life ahead of him. We weighed the risks and outcomes of the surgeries and took a gamble financially that seemingly has paid off in the end. We have a dog who is ready and waiting for the go ahead to run and play again. *Though ask us this question again should we be faced with a THR on the left (I am leaning towards an FHO should the need arise).

The only advice I can give other pet owners is arm yourself with as much information as possible and really talk it out. Make a list of pros and cons. If you pray, pray. This decision as difficult as it is, is yours alone to make. All you can do is keep the love for your pet in mind, and everything else should fall into place. I hope other pet owners find solace in that.

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Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, German Shepherd, Pets

Serious denial

Sorry folks for the lack of posts lately. I’ve had a lot on my mind- to say the least. We are 2 weeks away from his surgery and I was kidding myself when I said I was ready. I’m not. I was hoping that by creating a mantra of sorts- “you are ready, you got this”……..that I would eventually believe it.

To say that I have been stressed is an understatement. I look at Klaus and think to myself, “he has no idea the shit storm that is about to ensue”. And let’s face it, neither do I! Work life for both my husband and I has been stressful and busy- so everything all around feels stifling.

I’m feeling scared and uncertain. Emotional and uneasy. I am also feeling angry for some of the (non-approved) comments I have had to filter through “shaming” me for 1- buying a dog from a breeder and 2- asking for help in his surgery that is “undoubtedly due to bad breeding”.

I want to echo something I recently saw on Facebook- as written by someone who would do anything and everything for the breed, who promotes rescues, has rescued, but is also someone who buys from responsible breeders……


You know who is? People who think that cute puppy is just a cute cuddly ball of fur- a puppy who doesn’t have accidents, chew and rip apart furniture and shoes, who sheds and makes your eyes water.

People who won’t devote the time and energy necessary to raise an animal- responsibly and properly. People who don’t spay or neuter their animals. People who move and don’t want to bring their pets. Pet stores that create a need for backyard breeders…..I can go on and on.

We did buy Klaus from a reputable and responsible breeder who in all her years of breeding litters has NEVER had an issue like this. We got dealt a shitty card. And you know what!? We are dealing with is as best as we can. We didn’t think- well we can’t handle this so let’s dump him off onto someone else.*we are in contract with the breeder that if for ANY reason we couldn’t take care of Klaus we would give him back so he would never ever end up in a shelter.

Let me tell you this- in explaining to various people inquiring about our situation- friends and strangers alike- the sentiment that we come across more often than not is “well personally we wouldn’t do that for our dog”. “He’s just a dog- $6?! You can get a new car with that…”

Excuse me for my fiery rhetoric, but I am tired of the holier than thous out there. Don’t you dare look down on me for “asking” for help (I did set up a donation tab because people were asking, but the majority of the money raised was through items I designed and sold as well as the garage sale we had, and some of our VERY GENEROUS AND KIND close friends)- especially if you yourself probably wouldn’t do nearly as much as I have been doing for my dog. So piss off!

Ok. To cleanse everyone’s pallet of that little outburst, here are some shots of Klaus. His newest thing is to get in the tub until I turn the water on. I don’t understand him. He HATES baths, but is ok with jumping in there to lap up the water from the faucet?!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone out there who has been supportive and kind to us. All those who donated. All those who bought a print from me or crap from the garage sale. All those who are now rocking the GSD pins and stickers. Graham and Adam and everyone who donated that day at Recess Coffee. All those who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. All those who have sent PMA our way…………….


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Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, German Shepherd, Pets

GiveForward was NOT a success…

And that is more to do with me not promoting it as much. It was started a few months after I began the blog as a way to visually track donations.

We had a very generous donation of $25 immediately made but unfortunately we did not meet the minimum donation required of $50 to move forward and therefore be reimbursed.

So that donation will be refunded to whoever anonymously donated. But I want to take this moment and thank you nevertheless for keeping Klaus in your thoughts!


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Still fundraising- any way I can!

So as a last ditch effort to raise some more money for Klaus’s surgery, I am running a sale in my ETSY store– $2.00 off all my prints, with all proceeds going straight to the little monster’s hip!

Please also check out the store section of the blog as I do have items still available. I am calling Cornell tomorrow to schedule his appointments :/ He needs an introductory one where they run various tests and xrays to see what size implant he needs and god forbids- is cancer and disease free. Then a week later is the mother of all appointments.

I worry I have not truly faced reality just yet. Financially, we will never be ready and although we have raised about 1/3 the cost I need to look more closely at our CareCredit options. I have a feeling that the 6 months interest free comes with penalties if we can’t make the minimum- which would be hundreds of dollars, depending on what the final cost is. I’m not sure if I want to risk it! Our other option is our credit union which we both have really good credit despite the debt we carry. Maybe they could help us all around with our financial dire straits concerning our credit cards?

But what I don’t think I have come to terms with yet is the rehabilitation. The real risk we face of Klaus really hurting himself after the surgery, let alone the actual risk that is the surgery! This is a big effing deal! It is coming up sooner rather than later and I have to really get everything sorted out. We will be practically living downstairs with him. Bringing him out to go to the bathroom will be an interesting feat as we have stairs at both doors. Not to mention the risk of taking him out the front door which has less steps but gets him psyched because he thinks he’s going for a ride.

I am home with the dog 99% of the time so it will fall on me to provide the utmost care for him. Am I physically capable of using the sling by myself to bring him down the steps?

I feel really bummed right now. All around. This will be THE most difficult thing I have gone through. I fear I am only now realizing a small percentage of the gravity of the situation.

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Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, German Shepherd

gone a week

So I was gone for a week visiting with friends and once I got home I came down with something awful. Actually I am still battling it- whatever it is. Terrible cough, sore throat, just all around crappy-ness. I also had a coughing fit so severe yesterday I hurt my back! Who does that?!

Here’s a picture of the fur I swept when I got home……..

Pretty bummed that the whole time I was gone, no one (ahem, husband) couldn’t be bothered to sweep! I know he has allergies, but I would imagine leaving the piles of fur that had accumulated on the stairs and in the corner would exacerbate it! I digress.

So Klaus I’m sure missed me. I think he missed annoying the hell out of me more than anything! When I walked in he was in his crate and it was like he wasn’t sure who he was looking at! Really dog?! I was gone a week! Remember when you were “helping” me pack? Remember when you were trying to shred the inside of my luggage? Remember when you obliterated my hat?

He looks like such a good normal pup here. But let me tell you, looks can be deceiving!

I need to get back on track with his hip fundraising efforts. We are having a garage sale the end of July and I need to get back to pushing the stickers and pins I have on hand! We don’t have a specific date in August set. I have to call Cornell next week. We were holding off in regards to getting him neutered, when that was going to happen, etc. But I have to say I might hold off the neutering until he’s pretty well healed. He had a gnarly reaction to the anesthesia and I have some reservations about putting him under twice within such a short time. Unfortunately, the two surgeries can not be done at the same time due to the nature of the hip replacement 😦

It’s been really super hot here. Actually hot is an understatement! It’s been downright miserable. I am a cold weather snow girl. Always have been- probably always will be. I think Klaus also prefers the cold and snow too. He has been a bit of a brat because we can’t do his walks and training until later on when it cools. Yesterday I did take him for a short walk up the street and back down- just so he would go home and crash for a bit so I could get some work done. We have done his training in the basement- which is great for off leash stuff. I can not wait until next year when we can really begin to address the issue of our backyard and putting in a fence. With his hip, everything got pushed back. We can only realistically tackle one large money pit a year, if that! Once the fence is in, I think it’ll be good for everyone.


Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, German Shepherd, Pets