Homemade Dog Chow

I have three dogs that I constantly have to keep an eye on what they’re eating. This past summer, they were getting endless bouts of diarrhea. One dog after another. And vice versa. Countless visits to the vet had us questioning about their diet. “Are they eating healthy?” “Should we add more Greek yogurt or pumpkin?” “Are we giving them too little or too much?” “Are they drinking enough water?” “Is the grass poisoning them?” “What in the world are we feeding our dogs?!”

All kinds of crazy thoughts! The vets would say it’s environmental. I was so puzzled and got sick of it. Fast. They were eating high end expensive kibbles to grain-free wet food. Finally, I said enough. I did my research. Found a site that offers homemade food recipes.

BalanceIT

That website has useful information on supplements and what to feed your dogs. How much you can give them and such. There’s also free recipes for certain conditions. Always consult with your vet before starting this.

Also for you feline lovers!

What a life changer. Our dogs LOVE homemade food. I can’t remember the last time Jameson was excited about a meal.

I buy the ground meat on sale whenever possible. It should be lean meat. Frozen veggies are almost always on sale. Huge bag of rice. Steel cut oats. Coconut oil. Throw in canned pumpkin or frozen butternut squash. Whatever you got laying around.

I throw it all in the instant pot. Turn it on and set it for manual pressure cook for only SEVEN MINUTES! Can we talk about how amazing this thing is? It cooks so fast in less than half the time! I love my slow cooker but this one takes the Gold. If you still have your faithful slow cooker, low for 8 hrs or high for 4-6 depending on rice.

I still give them kibbles because they need their minerals and vitamins. So what I do is, kibbles and homemade chow in the morning with fish oil. At night, heaping homemade chow. That’s it. Sometimes they’ll get their homemade treats. Even Store bought ones.

For a long time, the Vet would call out on Nikki for being overweight. She was starting to show signs of hip problems. She’s a Rottweiler mix and had those traits of hip dysphasia. She had her check up and went from 93 to 81 pounds. And still needs to lose a little bit more. She was also stomach sensitive to certain foods like some of the kibbles and wet foods in the past. Once we started this diet, her loose stools were gone. As well as Jameson and Charley. Nikki’s hips seem to be in good working order today.

Charley has a knee problem and keeping his weight under check was super important.

Jameson used to hate his meals. Nothing was making him happy. I’ve never seen him so excited for meal time. His energy is up. He’s no longer sulking around like he used to.

Over all, all three of them have high energy and look forward to their meals. And they’re senior dogs! Charley is 10. Jameson is 8. Nikki will be 8 in May. Yikes! Please freeze time.

That Deaf Massage Therapist…

That move to VA wasn’t going to happen unless I found a job. Unfortunately, there was a period of time where people lost their jobs, unemployment rate was going up, no one was hiring….It sucked.

I worked for this agency out of college outside of Philadelphia for a couple of years working with children of all kinds of disabilities. I was hoping to be somewhere along the lines of an occupational therapist or a counselor which both required a masters degree. Applying to grad school at the time was out of the question. With unemployment so high, everyone seemed to be scrambling to go back to college. So I said screw it and looked into a massage school. Kind of silly right? Not to me. I always had this mindset I was going to move to NYC or LA as a dancer and be a massage therapist to offset some of the costs of living and auditioning daily. Haha! SO!

I signed up for it. 7 months program, working 8-4 and was going to massage school 5-11 pm 4-5 days a week. All this was an hr from home. All while working full time. All while maintaining a long distance relationship on the weekends. Even if it meant, driving from NOVA to Philly to get to work 8 am on a Monday and start the week all over again.

Again, perseverance was key. Thank you mom!

I ended up finishing the program, moved, got my VA massage license, and worked in the cutest spa in a small town by DC. Now in the back of my mind, I always knew this isn’t what I really wanted to see myself getting old doing. Growing up, I admired my mom who is a registered nurse pulling long hours to save lives, come home to make sure there’s a roof over our head and food on the table. I looked up to her. She was a single mom. I wanted that real career stability, not because my husband wouldn’t take care of me, but because I wanted to make sure no matter what happens, I’m able to take care of us and the future kids eventually. Now let’s be real here. Anyone could do it. Me? I just didn’t see it in myself as a Massage Therapist in the long run. Yada yada blah blah blah.

I worked in a handful of chiropractor offices, local and corporate spas. Then finally a gym where I really enjoyed it. Long story short, thing is, it truly wasn’t for me.

Rewind then fast forward. After we got married, I applied to Dental Hygiene school which took some serious trying. At first, their application requirement was a bit over the top. At one point, they required “5-7 years experience in dental assisting”….ummm what? Dafuq? I knew how competitive the program was but come on. I ended up getting a part time DA job but I knew there were no guarantees. Rolls eye.

First year, rejected. Second year, rejected. Same year, somehow accepted? And by then, that requirement didn’t matter anymore, slap me in the face will you?

Stay tuned!

Deaf Facts!

  • We are not just born deaf
    • According to WHO, there are 360 million people worldwide that have some sort of hearing loss. It can range from genetics, to illness, to aging.
  • Deaf and hard-of-hearing don’t just use ASL
    • The population is so diverse that not everyone knows sign language. You can grow up in a hearing family and use speech as your primary communication. You can use sign language if that’s what you can do. Some people use both oral and sign. It helps to learn but in reality most hearing people don’t know how to.
    • Intensive speech lessons with a Speech Pathologist will help you go far. (I did it for 9 years)
  • It is a disability
    • We are just human beings without one of the senses.
    • Hearing loss can be bilateral or unilateral.
    • The old term is ‘hearing impaired’. Be careful with that because to some deaf or hard of hearing people, it’s like saying ‘retarded’ when someone has down syndrome or cerebral palsy.
    • Hard-of-hearing or deaf is a better term. Hard-of-hearing is more for someone who has mild to moderate hearing loss while deaf is someone who has severe to profound hearing loss. To some deaf cultures, if you have hearing aids and use oral speech, you may be considered hard-of-hearing.
  • We can do jobs in all walks of life
    • The Board of the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses is currently working on a statistical registry to find out how many deaf or hard of hearing healthcare professionals are out there. I suggest if you are like me, a Deaf Registered Dental Hygienist, go put your name in! Statisical Registry
    • There is a safe-n-clear FDA approved mask out there for all you deaf or hard of hearing aspiring medical professionals.
    •  Same with stethoscopes!
  • We can have children who won’t be deaf
    • That’s what doctors are for. Talk with your doctor, not everyone passes it down.
    • In today’s world, you can find out the baby’s disability before and after birth.
  • Not everyone wears hearing aids or cochlear implants
    • There are deaf and hard of hearing people out there that just don’t wear either of them
    • Not everyone qualifies for cochlear implants.  You are referred to an implant clinic for evaluations and undergo a series of tests that includes ear, hearing, physical and x-ray (MRI or CT) evaluation which can take weeks and months, depending on doctors and locations.
    • While the surgery is outpatient, there are several weeks before you can fully hear again. It’s irreversible. Mostly for people who have severe to profound hearing loss.
    • It is not cheap. It can cost up to $100,000+ but luckily most insurances will cover it.
    • There are all kinds of hearing aid options on the market. I’ve seen so much improvement, especially the kinds you can surf in or have blue tooth technology.
    • Be kind sharing videos that circulates around the internet showing children hearing for the first time (with hearing aids or cochlear implants). While it’s a wonderful thing to hear, not everyone has that opportunity or support.