Thursday, August 28, 2014

We are Moving in September 2014

I am going to be updating our website with new location and contact information this weekend and wanted to post this so that I don't get anyone confused when they are looking for a Cockapoo puppy from us! As you may know, once you post something online, like an ad, it seems to get spread everywhere so over the years of advertising our puppies I am sure there are ads all over that I don't even know about and it will take me some time to get everything corrected with our new location information. For those of you familiar with Cute Cockapoos we were originally located in Iola, Wisconsin but we are now moving our business to Manawa, Wisconsin which is actually only a few miles away from our original address. Sandy and I (Jamie) are a mother/daughter team that has raised our puppies together with most of the work and customer pickups being done at Sandy's house in Iola. Since there is so much work to do I have been driving back and forth to Sandy's house on a daily basis to do my part and then come home each night to take care of my own farm, etc. In 2010 my husband and I were finally able to purchase a farm of our own and have been steadily working on updating, remodeling, and doing some new construction to the point that we are ready to have the dogs and puppies here :) Sandy is starting to slow down a little bit and my husband and I are at a point that we can now handle things at home, in Manawa, hence the new location and phone number that will soon be posted to the website. Don't worry, Sandy and I will still be the same people raising the same wonderful Cockapoo Puppies, you will just be picking them up at a new location that will be slightly easier to find than Sandy's house (she's way out in the woods!) If you do encounter an old ad that I have not corrected or found yet you will still be able to get in touch with us, I am not changing our email address. Thank you for your patience while I work on getting all of our information switched over and please do contact us if you are looking for a Cockapoo puppy.
Our email address is:
Our website is:
We are now located in Manawa, Wisconsin
Our new phone # is (920) 596-1730

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Progression of a Cockapoo Puppy, Week by Week Photos

Due to the Cockapoo breed being so darn popular I often have people reserve puppies from us in advance, way before their puppy is born so that they can get ahead of the rush and get the color and sex that they desire. Quite often people have either had a Cockapoo, have met one of our Cockapoo puppies, or have done extensive research on the breed so they know they for sure want one and feel completely comfortable picking one out as a newborn without seeing how they grow first. If I am comfortable with a family I have no problem with them doing this but I always try to explain that when a puppy is first born I am not able to explain questions about their coat texture, the color of their eyes or noses, or anything about their personality, they are simply too young and all of that takes time to develop as the puppy grows. Like I said, most people are totally fine with that because they know how well the breed is but I do still get some people who want to know things that are just too hard to answer at a certain age so I have been photographing a puppy as he has grown to help show people how they progress over time, I hope this helps to better explain how the puppies change and develop over time.

The pictures above are of a Red Male Cockapoo that is less than 24 hours old. As you can see his coat is very flat and smooth, his eyes are closed, his skin is bright pink in some spots and his nose is a mix of pink and black, and not all of his hair is developed in places like the top of his nose and eyebrows. When I send people pictures of the babies this young they often ask me what their coats are going to look like and my answer is that it takes several weeks for it to develop, I don't have any way of knowing 100% how much texture it will have until it comes in. I also have people ask what color their noses will be and if a puppy is born with a black nose it will stay that way, if a puppy is born with a pink nose it can either turn darker pink or also turn black, this also takes some time. Because this puppy has a mix of colors on his nose I would guess that it will turn black. Their eyes don't open for about 2.5-3 weeks and when they do they are a cloudy blue/gray color, their true color comes later and usually they have brown eyes but we also get ones with Blue or Green eyes, it all depends on the color in their background. I have also had people ask me about personalities at this age and at this stage the puppies mostly eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom so there is not much to say about personality at this point. We sometimes have families want to visit and view the puppies before they pick one out and we do not allow them to come when the babies are this young, they are not vaccinated, need to be with their mom, and really there is not much to see other than what they look like which can be done by photos.

In the pictures above the puppy is now one week old and you can already see some differences in him compared to the earlier photos. All of his skin that was previously pink or a mix of black and pink has turned black and will stay that way. His hair on top of his nose and eyebrows has grown in more and you can see a texture starting to develop in his coat. His eyes are still closed and he still continues to spend most of his time eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom. At this age we still do not allow visits, we like to wait until the babies begin receiving their vaccines before exposing them to people to try and keep them as healthy as possible.

In the pictures above the puppy is now 15 days old and his eyes have begun to open! His coat has grown longer and thicker and you can see even more texture throughout it as well. He is now starting to crawl around a bit and responds well to being held and having his belly rubbed.

In the photos above the puppy is now three and a half weeks old and has really begun to change. He went from a sleepy blob to looking and acting like a puppy! His eyes are fully opened now, his coat has even more texture and I am confident in telling his family that he will have a fluffy and wavy coat, and he's much more active. These were the first photos I got of him sitting up, he's beginning to walk around a bit now and responds to me by wagging his tail and kicking his little foot when I get the right spot on his belly. We will soon begin feeding him and his litter softened food so they can start getting used to that and give mom a break from nursing.

In the photos above he is now a bit over four weeks old and is getting more photogenic and active every day. When I first begin to take their photos they rarely pay attention to me, they crawl around and explore and are sometimes afraid of the noise of the camera but at this age he is responding to the sounds I make and poses great for the camera. He and his litter are eating soft food very well now, drinking water, and beginning to play more, and starting to chew on things as their teeth develop. His coat is beautiful and his eyes are brown. Mom is still spending time with them but likes to take longer breaks from them as she begins her weaning process.

In the photos above he is a little over 5 weeks old and we were playing outside because the sun finally came out, but as you can see, sunlight fades their color and always makes them look lighter. At this age he is active, playful, loving, and everything you would expect in a puppy. He is now eating regular puppy food (no longer softened,) drinking water on his own and is getting ready to be weaned from mom. He plays with toys, wrestles with his siblings, and follows at my feet making good photos hard to get! They are very curious at this age and want to see and get into everything. Soon he will begin to receive his vaccines and then, if we have any available for sale at this age, we allow people to come for visits, all by appointment,  if and when we have some free time.

In the photos above he is about six and a half weeks old and will be leaving for his new home in a few days. As you can see, he is gorgeous!! His coat is has a soft and silky fluffy wave to it, his nose has stayed black, and his soft brown eyes are super sweet. Photos at this age are really hard to get because, even though they like to explore, Cockapoos are people puppies and they follow at your feet. The bottom picture where he is standing on my foot is a great example of what happens when I take them out for photo sessions. You may notice that he looks different colors in the pictures, that is because it all depends on whether I take them indoors or outdoors and what type of lighting I take them in. At this age he has begun to receive his vaccines, has been vet checked, and is fully weaned from mom. He and his siblings are eating regular puppy food (no longer softened,) are teething like crazy so we give them bones and pig ears to chew on, and they love, love, love to wrestle, run around, get belly rubs, and play with their toys. He loves people and your lap is his favorite place to be :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Flea and Tick season again. We have a horrible winter in Wisconsin this year, it was below zero for weeks at a time and when it did ever warm up (above freezing) we got covered in snow so we just felt like it would never end. It's now April 30th and we've had several days of rain with high temperatures in the 40's and lows in the 20's so it seems like Spring will never come. Since the weather has been so strange this year I figured it would affect all of the bugs and I was very surprised to find a tick on my cat the other day so I immediately got out the topicals and treated all of my dogs and cats. The market for flea and tick treatment has exploded, there are tons of brands out there, different forms of treatments, and a large variety in the prices so I have found some comparison charts to help you decide what is best for you. I personally prefer to use products that have ingredients that control flea development because if your pet is ever exposed you want to protect them as much as possible. Since I have both dogs and cats I also only use products that are not toxic to one or the other. Since doing my research I have found that some topicals for dogs can be deadly to cats so please be careful!!

Different Brands of Topicals
 Kills Adult FleasControls Flea DevelopmentKills Ticks(Lyme Disease vectors)Repels & KillsMosquitoes(Heartworm, West Nile Virus carriers)DosageMinimum AgeActive Ingredients
K9 Advantix® IIYesYesYesYesMonthly7 wks or olderimidacloprid, permethrin, IGR pyriproxyfen
Frontline® PlusYesYesYesNoMonthly8 wks or olderfipronil, S-methoprene
Advantage® IIYesYesNoNoMonthly7 wks or olderimidacloprid, IGR pyriproxyfen
FiproGuardTM MAXYesNoYesNoMonthly12 wks or olderfipronil, cyphenothrin
FiproGuardTMYesNoYesNoMonthly8 wks or olderfipronil
Bio Spot® ACTIVE CARE SPOT ON®YesYesYesYesMonthly12 wks or olderetofenprox, IGR pyriproxyfen, S-methoprene, piperonyl butoxide, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide
PetArmor®YesNoYesNoMonthly8 wks or olderfipronil
Hartz First DefenseYesNoYesNoMonthly8 wks or olderfipronil
CertifectYesYesYesNoMonthly8 wks; at least 5lbsS-methoprene, amitraz
Virbac Pyrethrin DipYesNoYesYes7 days12 wks or olderpyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, di-n-propyl isocinchomeronate

Flea & Tick Collars
 Kills Adult FleasControls Flea DevelopmentKills Ticks(Lyme Disease vectors)Repels & KillsMosquitoes(Heartworm, West Nile Virus carriers)DosageMinimum AgeActive Ingredients
Seresto® Flea & Tick CollarsYesYesYesNoevery 8 months7 wks or olderararicide, flumethrin, imidacloprid
Preventic Tick CollarNoNoYesNoevery 3 months12 wks or olderamitraz
AdamsTM Plus Flea & Tick CollarYesYesYesNoup to every 5 months12 wks or olderpropoxur, S-methoprene
Sentry Pro Flea & Tick CollarYesYesYesNoup to every 6 months12 wks or olderpropoxur, phenothrin, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, pyriproxyfen
Sentry Dual Action Flea & Tick Collar YesNoYesNoup to every 6 months12 wks or olderpropoxur, phenothrin, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide
Scalibor® Protector BandYesNoYesNoup to every 6 months12 wks or olderdeltamethrin
Spectra SHIELDTMFlea & Tick Collar Attached MedallionYesNoYesNoevery 4 months6 months or olderzetacypermethrin, piperonyl butoxide

Shampoos & Sprays
 Kills Adult FleasControls Flea DevelopmentKills Ticks(Lyme Disease vectors)Repels & KillsMosquitoes(Heartworm, West Nile Virus carriers)DosageMinimum AgeActive Ingredients
Frontline® SprayYesNoYesNomonthly8 wks or olderfipronil
Drs. Foster & Smith Advanced Formula Flea & Tick ShampooYesNoYesNo7 days12 wks or olderpyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide,
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Spray and ShampooYesYesYesspray repelsspray protects up to 2 months; shampoo 7-10 days for adults, 28 days pre-adult12 weeks or olderSpray: etofenprox, S-methoprene, piperonyl butoxide. Shampoo: S-methoprene, piperonly butoxide
Bio Spot® ACTIVE CARE Flea and Tick Spray for DogsYesYesYesrepelsfrom 2 wks (new adults) to 2 months (re-infestation) 10 wks or olderetofenprox, S-methoprene, piperonly butoxide
Flys Off®MistYesNoYesrepelsevery 9 days12 wks or olderpyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, di-n-propyl isocinchomeronate
Vet's Best Natural Flea & Tick Spray and ShampooYesYes - spray onlyYesrepelsRepeat as necessary12 wks or olderpeppermint oil, clove extract, sodium lauryl sulfate
ResultixTM Tick Spray from BayerNoNoYesNoas often as neededall agesisopropyl myristate
Bio-Groom Flea & Tick Shampoo by Bio-DermYesNoYesNoweekly12 wks or olderpyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide
FiproGuard Flea & Tick SprayYesNoYesNomonthly8 wks or olderfipronil
Virbac Ecto-Soothe®3X ShampooYesNoYesNo7 days12 wks or olderpyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide

Oral Preventatives
 Kills Adult FleasControls Flea DevelopmentKills Ticks(Lyme Disease vectors)Repels & KillsMosquitoes(Heartworm, West Nile Virus carriers)DosageMinimum AgeActive Ingredients
Capstar® TabletsYesNoNoNoone time4 weeks & older; 2 lbsnitenpyram

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sign up for our Facebook Contest!


Check out our Brand New Sweepstakes contest! We are giving away a 6lb bag of Diamond Small Breed puppy food, a home made fleece blanket, and a large squeak toy! Just follow these steps:

1: Click this Link:
2: Enter your email and click submit!
3: Share with your friends and receive 2 extra entries for each friend that enters. 

The contest runs from 3/25/14-5/6/14, the winner will be announced 5/6/14.
Even if you don't have a pet or don't use Diamond Brand dog food you can still enter and donate the prize to a local Humane Society or Shelter. Good luck to everyone!

Friday, March 7, 2014

How Our Waiting List for Cockapoo Puppies Works

During the Spring and Summer months and during certain Holidays we get really busy with families wanting to adopt our Cockapoo puppies so we generally develop a waiting list. People have paid attention to how fast our puppies are adopted and they have learned that the sooner they reserve in advance the better because that way they don't have to worry about not getting a puppy when they want one. As soon as I post online that we have a waiting list for puppies I get flooded with questions, people often want to know how long our list is and they always fear that they won't get a puppy. It's really hard to give specifics on exactly when a person on our waiting list will get a puppy because it all depends on what they want, how many puppies are born, and what color/sex combination they are. I'll have people call me wanting specific answers and I feel bad because I always have to tell them it depends on the litter and I have to wait until they arrive before I can go into specific details. Here is an example, I am hoping that it helps clear up some of the common questions I get:

When a family reserves a puppy in advance I ask them to tell me what they are looking for which would be color(s,) sex of the puppy, and if they have a certain time of year that they would prefer getting one. Here is an example of a waiting list that I would have, I will explain how it all works as we go through it.

Family #1 wants a Red Female only and they don't want one until June
Family # 2 wants a Red, Buff, or Apricot Female starting in May
Family #3 wants a Red Male only, any time of year
Family #4 wants a Chocolate Male, any time of year
Family #5 wants a Black Female, starting in May
Family #6 will take any color/sex as soon as possible
Family #7 will take any color female as soon as possible
Family #8 wants a Parti or Merle Male or Female as soon as possible
Family #9 wants any color Male as soon as possible
Family #10 wants a Chocolate Female any time of year

Okay, so the above is my pretend waiting list and lets say it's February 16th and I have a litter of puppies born with a total of 3 Black Females, one Parti Male, and one Chocolate Female and they will be ready for home the beginning of April. Once I know what is born I go to my waiting list and see who is on it and what they are looking for. Family #1 is instantly skipped over because they don't want a puppy until June, Family #2 is skipped because I don't have the color/sex that they want, Family #3 is skipped because I don't have the color/sex they want, Family #4 is skipped because I don't have the sex they want, Family #5 is skipped because they don't want one until May, Family #6 is contacted first because they will take any color or sex as soon as possible, so they went from being #6 on the list to #1 because of what was born in the litter. So lets say Family #6 takes a Black Female, they are happy and now off of my list, leaving 9 families left on the list. I will now contact Family #7 because they will take any color female, so lets say they too take a Black Female, they are now off the list, leaving 8 families left. I then contact Family #8 and tell them I have a Parti Male, fabulous, they are happy with him and take him, one more family off the list and now I am down to 7 people waiting. I skip over Family #9 because they only want a Male and he was adopted by Family #8 and I then contact Family #10 and tell them I have a Chocolate Female, they are happy and adopt her, leaving 6 families on a list that was 10 long. So now I have one Black Female available and no one on my list wants her so I then post her on the website for the public to view and adopt. The remaining people on my waiting list will be contacted when my next litter is born as long as the puppies match what they are looking for. From my example you can see that if you are more open minded about a color/sex combination you can go from being #10 on the list all the way up to #1 because other people are very specific about what they want and you are not.

I hope this example makes it more clear as to why I cannot specifically tell you when I will have a puppy for you, it all depends on what you want and who is born. I also hope that it makes the number of people on my waiting list less scary because your turn in line can change, again, all depending on what I get for puppies.

I have said this a million times but I will say it again, we do not know what color or sex combination we will get until the puppies are born! Our dogs have a ton of different colors in their bloodlines, we do this on purpose so that we can get a nice variety of colors and each litter is a nice surprise!

Please do contact us if you want to reserve a puppy in advance, we take deposits anytime.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tail Docking: Long and Waggy Tails are Welcomed Here!

Tail docking or cropping is the act of intentionally removing part of an animals tail. This practice, depending on the type of animal, is often done by a licensed vet, a breeder, or by a farmer and can be done in various ways ranging from cutting to banding and burning. Because I am a dog breeder I am going to focus on tail docking in dogs. For canines tail docking is originally thought to have started way back in the Roman Empire, and the most popular reason was to prevent working and hunting dogs from being hurt by the animals they were hunting or by their long tails being caught in the underbrush they were traveling through. In more modern times tail docking was made popular by people thinking it made certain breeds more attractive when they had shorter tails and also during the 1950's rules for pedigree dog shows established standards requiring docked tails for particular breeds. For example, a Cocker Spaniel would be required to have a docked tail and would not be "show worthy" if they had their naturally long tail.
The debate over whether tail docking is ethical has a long history, for a time it was totally acceptable to have a dog with a docked tail, people fully expected certain breeds to automatically have their tails docked when born, and some of that is still true to this day, but I have found that more people have shifted to the other side and prefer their dog's tails naturally long and not docked. I'm not sure that everyone adopting a dog with a docked tail is fully aware of what a painful procedure it is. I think most people like to believe that their dog, when first born, was taken to the vet where it was given  medication and the tail was removed with minimal pain, but the truth is most breeders do it themselves with a knife or tool similar to a nail clippers and the puppy is not given any type of pain medicine. The tail is cut off, the puppy screams, and a powder called 'blood stop' is put on the wound to stop the bleeding. If done wrong it can cause infections, bone can be exposed, and it can later lead to future issues throughout the dogs life.
(The above picture was downloaded off the internet to show tail docking, I do not dock tails, so it is not my personal picture!!)
Having dogs and other animals with tails my entire life I fully realize that the tail is something much more than a cosmetic feature, it is a way for the animal to communicate their emotions with you and other animals. If a dog is scared where does the tail go-right between their legs. If a dog is happy and excited, where does the tail go-all over the place and they usually wag it as hard as they can to express how excited they are. If a dog spots something they aren't sure of or that they want to point out, where does the tail go-usually straight out in a 'pointed' position. If a female is in heat and she is put in with a male, where does the tail go- up and to the side to tell him she's ready to breed. Studies have also shown that even though a dog may be wagging their tail, the direction and pattern of that wag may express different emotions and signals that we, not being dogs, don't understand but others of their kind do.
In the early 90's in the United Kingdom the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ruled tail docking to be unethical unless it was done for medically necessary reasons, not simply cosmetic. Vets found guilty of doing tail docking for cosmetic purposes face very high fines and potential time in jail. In 1987 Norway banned tail docking, in 2006 it was banned in England, Scotland, and Wales and other countries that have banned the practice include Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden amongst many others. I wonder if America will ever change its breed standards and also participate in the tail docking ban?
                   (Again, not my photo, I downloaded it off the internet to show tail docking!!)
We raise Cockapoo puppies and do not dock their tails. A Cockapoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle and Cockapoos are born with naturally long tails. Cocker Spaniels have a breed standard and are known to have docked tails and I have found that people go either way with Poodles, some breeders automatically dock tails and don't think a Poodle is 'right' without it being done while others leave them natural. We sometimes raise Cocker Spaniels or Poodle puppies when we want new ones for breeding and do not dock either breeds tails. We recently just had a litter of Cocker Spaniel puppies, we were hoping for females but got Males, so we sold them with naturally long tails and were happy to see that people accepted them for who they are, tails and all. I do on occasion have people call me inquiring about a puppy and tell me that they don't want one if it doesn't have a docked tail and I am fine with that, I respect their opinion, but they will have to go elsewhere for a puppy because I will not do it. I have found customers that were unsure about their puppies having a long tail now really appreciate that we did not dock them and I get a lot of comments from people thanking us for not participating in the practice. If you have a dog, or a cat, or another animal that has a long tail sit down and pay attention to how they use their tail and you will see it is much more than a cosmetic feature.
                                                              Cocker Spaniel with a docked tail (not our dog)

                                                              Mini Poodle with a docked tail (not our dog)
                                   One of our Cockapoo puppies, look at that beautiful tail :)
                      Another one of our beautiful Cockapoo puppies with a long and waggy tail!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

Saying goodbye to a pet is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with in life. My pets become my family, they are like children to me, so I cherish every moment I have with them and it's absolutely heart breaking when it's time to say goodbye.
 Last fall my father's 14 year old Golden Retriever wasn't doing well, her hips were getting bad, she wasn't eating well and we could all see that her quality of life was fading. I brought up the subject of putting her to sleep a few times with my dad, and like any pet owner, he was hesitant to do it, but I reminded him that he had to put her needs ahead of his own personal feelings. Finally he could see that it was her time and he took her in to be put to sleep, even though it was hard, he realized that she was in pain and wouldn't be getting any better. About a week after he lost his dog, his wife also passed away, and we could all see he was lost-everyone he had been taking care of had left him in such a short amount of time and he was left with a sad and empty house and no one to care for. When Sally, his dog, passed away I asked him if he would be interested in getting a new puppy and he said he wanted to wait awhile, his wife was sick, and he didn't know if a new puppy would make things harder and he also wanted some time to heal from losing Sally which I understood. When his wife then passed away and I could see how lonely he was I asked him if he would now be interested in getting a puppy? He wasn't sure but did mention it a few times and seemed to be on the fence about it....

I grew up on a farm and have had animals my whole life so I've been through the entire process of getting, and then losing, a pet several times throughout life but the hardest one yet was my house cat, Stinker. I got Stinker as a kitten when I was about 10 years old and he was my shadow- he slept with me, was always on my lap, loved to be carried around, and watched me change from a child, into a teenager, and then onto an adult. When he was about 10 years old I started to notice some changes in him, he wasn't eating as well, was getting constipated, and losing weight so I brought him to the vet and, after some testing, he was diagnosed with kidney disease. Of course I was devastated with this news but the vet told me we could get him on medication, switch his food, and do other various things to keep him comfortable, but it wasn't a battle I would ultimately end up winning, I just had to appreciate the time I had left with him. I did what the vet said, I got him on meds, changed his food, put water bowls all over the house and kept a close eye on him, even checking into getting him a kidney transplant. For awhile he was really good, but he did also have his bad days where he wouldn't eat and was very lethargic and sick which always reminded me that my time with him was limited. I continued to take him to the vet for regular blood tests and, as his disease progressed, he had to get IV's to refresh his system which really helped him out, but again, was only a temporary fix. Luckily with my animal experience I was able to do the IV's at home and handled all of his various problems quite well but it still was so emotionally draining to watch this disease progress, and at times I felt helpless. When he turned 13 he had lost a lot of weight over the years and it got to the point where I had to give him IV's more and more often and I finally had to sit down and ask myself whether I was keeping him alive for my own selfish reasons or if it was time to put an end to his suffering and let him go. In the end I decided that his quality of life had gone down to a point that he had more bad days than good and that I had to say goodbye. I called my vet and she agreed so I took him in the next day and had him put to sleep, it was one of the hardest days of my life!

When you take a pet in to be put to sleep it's an extremely sad thing to have to go through but the vets work very hard to make it as peaceful and humane as possible. I said I wanted to stay for the process (you don't have to watch if you don't want to) so she gave him a sedative which worked almost instantly and that gave me a few minutes to say my goodbyes. When I was ready she gave him the second shot which stops their lungs and heart and he was simply gone in a matter of seconds. When you lose a pet there are a lot of options as to what you can do with their body, cremation is a common one, you leave them at the office and the vet clinic takes care of handling the details and when the process is finished you can come back and get their ashes. They have a wide variety of earns if you are going to keep the ashes, or you can also choose to have the ashes put in a communal burial plot. If you don't like the idea of cremation you can also take your pet home and bury them where you choose. Pet cemeteries have also become widely available in areas where you can purchase a plot and bury them and have a grave marker, similar to human cemeteries. We all have our own ways of dealing with the process of losing our pet but it certainly is nice to have some options as to how you want to remember them.

When I got home after putting Stinker down I didn't even want to walk in the house, I knew it would feel empty and seeing his toys and bowls all over the house would just make me cry. I sat outside for awhile and just thought about how we had such a good life together and how I would never forget him, and I was glad his suffering was over.

 A friend of mine had a litter of kittens born a few weeks before Stinker died and she asked me if I wanted to take one, and my first thought was no, how could he ever be replaced?! Didn't I need some time to heal? How could I just move on from one cat to another right away? I also thought about how empty my house felt, how I was used to having a kitty by my side and how I missed being purred to sleep at night. I eventually went and saw the kittens and took two home, a brother and sister pair, and I am so glad I did!

Being a dog breeder I hear stories of loss all the time, customers call me and tell me how they've lost a pet and it's time to get a new one. Some people take years before they are willing to get another pet, some people contact me within days of losing their dog, and others get a puppy before their older dog is ready to pass because they can't imagine life without one. The most common decision I hear is that they don't want to get a puppy the same color as their previous dog because it would be too much of a reminder of the other one, that I totally understand, Stinker was solid Black, my two kittens were not, Donavan is a Tabby and Abbey is a Mackeral Tabby, and it took me six years before I got another Black one.

I found getting the kittens was very therapeutic, I realized I wasn't replacing the one I had lost but was starting over with a new pair and it felt great to come home to a house that felt whole again. It had been a long time since I had kittens and the experience was wonderful! I finally had someone to purr me to sleep at night again, they were hysterical to watch wrestle and roll around the house, and I loved it that they had a special bond by being siblings and being together since birth. Those two little babies made the sadness of my loss not hurt so much and helped start a new chapter of my life. Donavan and Abbey are now turning 10 in March of 2014 and I am dreading the double digit ages because I realize that some day I am going to have to go through the process of losing not only one again, but two, and it will be just as heartbreaking as it was with Stinker. I cherish the time I have had with them and I hope that they will continue to live for several more years with me. One thing that I did learn with losing Stinker is that I wouldn't hesitate to go out and get another kitten when Donavan and Abbey pass, life is too short to not have those little paws running throughout the house!

As for my dad, an employee of his got a Golden puppy and told us that the breeder still had one available that was the color he preferred (he likes Dark Goldens which are hard to find.) I talked to him about it and he decided he would like to meet the puppy and possibly take him home. That morning I took him shopping for toys and supplies and I could already see a change in him, he was excited about something, and I hadn't seen that in awhile. When we got to the breeders house we walked in and I knew that Barron (what my dad named him) was coming home! He has truly been therapeutic and a blessing for my father, and I am glad he didn't wait too long to get one. Yes, the puppy stage can be very trying at times but it gives my dad something to do and to focus on, the house doesn't feel lonely anymore, and now that Barron is 72lbs. you can barely get in the door without noticing his presence!

Losing a pet is an awful experience and we all deal with it in our own individual ways, but I have found it's best to look back and focus on the good times that you had together and appreciate the place that they have in your heart.