Raising Coalton

It's been five weeks since we brought Coalton home! He's now 13 weeks old and over 20 pounds. With every passing day, we see more of his personality developing and blossoming. He's a sharp contrast to Grayson and Weston in many ways - Assertive, daring, and bold in ways that the other two boys aren't. He without a doubt has the strongest, forceful personality of the three. 

Grayson has a passive attitude towards Coalton - He's happy to sit and watch Coalton run around the yard, but only rarely engages him in play. He doesn't dislike Coalton's presence by any means, but he isn't one to seek him out. Grayson had this same attitude initially when we brought Weston home. It took a bit of time before he really bonded to Weston. Once they were hiking together, he seemed to bond to him much more easily, so I'm looking forward to hitting the trails with all three of them!

Weston, on the other hand, has completely and entirely adored Coalton since day 1. He's constantly looking after him, grooming him, checking up on him when he's resting.

He's bonded to him very quickly and easily (which is why it's almost always Coalton and Weston playing together in my IG stories). Weston has an openly loving personality and will bond hard to almost anyone who pays him attention. He's extremely playful and is happy to have another dog around to match the same zeal he possess. Weston's also substantially more active than Grayson, so while Grayson is happy to nap quite a bit during the day and evenings, Weston is not and prefers to be playing ceaselessly. One of my favorite parts of having Coalton so far has been watching Weston love and adore him. Coalton's presence brings a good balance to Weston and Grayson's existing relationship - When Grayson is tired of playing and wants to be left alone, Coalton is more than happy to occupy Weston for the rest of the day. 

This week it's been warming up quickly around our home. The temperatures will reach as high as 85° by this weekend, so we pulled out the kiddie pool and filled it up with water for the boys. We've noticed that Coalton has an affinity for water, just like his brothers. Once we started adding water to this pool, he was completely smitten. He alternated between rolling in the fresh sand (we're doing some yard renovation) and burying his face in the water. It turned into a wet, muddy day, but the boys had a blast and kept cool! 

In the coming weeks, we will be teaching Coalton how to swim. Last summer, we spent most of our free time in the pool since it's the only activity that can keep the boys cool enough in the summer. Grayson and Weston both learned how to swim around 16 weeks of age and have been excellent, motivated swimmers ever since.

They start in a life vest, which removes the sinking sensation that causes panicked feelings and distress. Without feeling stressed, they're able to develop an appropriate paddling technique, without slapping the water like so many dogs do when inexperienced with swimming. When using the life vest, Grayson and Weston were both able to master a strong swimming technique within a week and have never needed the vest since!

While we miss the cold weather, I'm looking forward to summer activities - Maybe I'll even be able to coax Coalton onto the SUP with me like Grayson has been willing to do. At any rate, be ready for plenty of swimming pictures to make appearances on our feed!

Welcome Home Coalton

It's been two days since Coalton came home! Grayson took to him right away and approaches him in a delicate, gentle way. He's interested in watching what he's doing, but isn't exactly sure how to carefully play with something so tiny. Weston is still recovering from his surgery and hasn't been around Coalton extensively yet. I allowed them to briefly meet, but Weston became far too excited and playful, and I worried about him breaking his staples, so they're taking a break until his staples come out!

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He's eating kibble for now, but will be transitioning to a raw diet soon. He absolutely adores food and has been enjoying some raw snacks, like minnows and raw goat's milk. I know he's going to be over the moon when he finally switches to full raw!

I can't wait to see how this little one turns out and am looking forward to documenting the process!

Echo Falls, NV

One of the best feelings in the world is discovering something amazing entirely without the intention of doing so.

This past weekend we embarked on a hike up at Mount Charleston. Looking for new locations, we ventured off in a direction we'd never journeyed before. Our curiosity was rewarded when we stumbled across gorgeous cascades of tumbling water.

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The trek towards this spot begins at the Echo Falls trail head. It's only a mile's hike to this location, but the journey is entirely uphill and can be taxing depending on the ability of the hiker.

The temperature on this day was 35 degrees and the sky was coated in clouds for most of the hike, until they finally broke as we neared our destination.

For whatever reason, the dogs were especially full of energy on this hike. Usually when we begin a hike, we allow the dogs to sniff around and check things out at their leisure, after which they fall into a relaxed and comfortable pace. This day was different - It was almost as if Grayson had his senses fixed on this place all along. He seemed in a constant rush to press forward, which is so unlike his usual demeanor.

Of course, we paused in several spots along the way up, much to Grayson's dismay, for photos.

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By the time we were getting close to the water, Grayson's tail was really moving, tongue lolling and eyes focused. Weston didn't seem quite so intrigued, but was happy to follow big brother's lead and press onward as well. Not even the deer off to our right could break their focus.

Soon, their paws hit the water, which was lined on both sides with icy snow. The boys both drank heavily, splashed around a bit, and Grayson taught Weston how to perform the perfect snow roll.

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Happy and surprised as we were to see water, for a while we didn't consider what could be beyond this flowing stream. We were so excited to have found a patch of snow and a hidden oasis, but the pups had other plans and wanted to explore further. We carefully waded through the stream and over the hardened snow. At one point, James' boot did collapse the snow and his foot fell straight through into icy water that was surging below. We proceeded with caution.

We could hear the roaring water and as we rounded the canyon corner we saw the tumbling water.

Grayson was eager to climb up and investigate. Having never been in quick moving water, Weston was more hesitant and tested each step carefully. He shied away as he drew nearer to one of the larger falls, but Grayson's eagerness willed him forward and he handled the entire situation with ease.

After playing in the water for a bit, Weston became much more comfortable and bold, venturing out to the edges and pouncing on the moving water.

It turned out to be one of my favorite hikes. Finding snow this late in the year is a rare treasure and coupling it with water makes it that much better. Both of the boys were so lively and alert; It was such a fun day for the two of them.

It just goes to show - Those who take paths less traveled are often rewarded.

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Valley of Fire, NV

The desert can be an unforgiving place, especially in the warmer months. Filled with cacti and venomous reptiles, it requires constant awareness, especially when hiking with dogs. It was 75 degrees the day we took the boys out, which is still quite hot for hiking, so our time in the area was limited.

Now that Weston is four months old and has completed his shots, it's absolutely essential that we get him outside and work with him. Luckily for us, it's been a relatively easy task. For the most part he's glued to Grayson's side and follows his lead. Grayson has been exposed to many environments and distractions, so he is no longer phased by the passing lizard, or even, snake.

The trail we ventured this time is called Rainbow Vistas: A short, dog friendly trail that features a variety of colors of sandstone formations and other landscape features - hence the name. It's lightly trafficked for the most part and is an excellent area for any experience level. The views are truly stunning.

We had only made it a few hundred yards onto the trail when we saw our first snake, although it was a nonvenomous variety. We did see over twenty lizards during this hike or varying species who were entirely undisturbed by our presence; One even ran directly towards the dogs. When hiking in an area like this, I keep the dogs close to me on leash (even though I photoshop it out in pictures later). Rattlesnakes are extremely common in the area and allowing dogs off leash in this area is risky. During the hot hours of the day, snakes can be found in the shade of vegetation, so be alert and don't let your dog poke his nose into places a snake could be relaxing.

There are many other trails in the area and campgrounds, making it a fun destination to camp or pass through on the way to somewhere else. The entirety of the park is dog friendly and the trails are extremely dog accessible. I wholeheartedly recommend seeing this stunning, unique, and diverse landscape!

Raw Fed Living

I wanted to take the opportunity to address a few questions that I've been receiving frequently on social media. Many of you are curious about what I feed the pups, why I choose to do so, what benefits they reap, and how you could potentially get started yourself.

As you may or may not know, both Weston and Grayson are entirely raw fed. I switched Weston over to a raw diet as soon as he came home with us and Grayson began eating a raw diet in January of 2016.

Prior to feeding raw, I fed a variety of "5 star" rated kibbles with success! I researched their food, I researched where it came from, and I researched each ingredient. I was proactive and I placed great importance on feeding Grayson great food. My perspective on dog food changed in November of 2015 when Grayson had his first seizure - A terrifying and world shattering experience, honestly. I can't describe how painful it is to watch someone you love go through a Grand Mal seizure; I'd never felt so helpless. For a few months, Grayson was fine, but then he had another seizure, and another, and another. I'd been carefully keeping notes on his seizures: What happened before hand, how long did they last, how long was his recovery period. Research was overwhelming. There are SO many potential causes and triggers and I was determined to find his. This is when I decided to switch to raw. You see, there are many different food sensitivities that can trigger seizures. The best way for me to test this was to limit the number of ingredients Grayson was consuming and also introduce new ingredients individually. Raw solved this problem for me. I also wanted to feed him a food that I knew would support a healthy immune system.

As time went by, I became more and more careful about what Grayson was exposed to - Certain ingredients, pesticides, toxins, etc. I'm extremely cautious and aware of where I take Grayson, what he's exposed to, and what kind of flea and tick preventatives I use on him, as they too contain many harmful substances. 

Now, in regards to diet, I believe that diet has the potential to assist and heal a variety of aliments, including Grayson's seizures. I knew feeding him raw would support and nourish his body, but I also added raw fermented goat's milk - an excellent probiotic that helps him absorb and make use of all the good stuff in his raw food. I also added fermented fish stock - a great source of healthy omegas that reduce inflammation and can support healthy brain function. Finally, I added Nupro gold - A vitamin and mineral supplement. 

Grayson has had 7 seizures in total. Slowly, the amount of time between episodes began lengthening. Now, it's been over six months since Grayson's last seizure. I cannot know that he won't have another, but I am hopeful and pray for him feverishly. I attribute our success with managing his episodes to avoiding potential triggers as best we can and also keeping him on a diet that supports good health and healing. This is my own personal opinion.

I should mention, Grayson was never put on seizure medications - His seizures were never close enough to one another to warrant this. The results that we've had have been achieved without the use of medication.

Grayson's raw meals come from Reel Raw. Please see our "info" section for a coupon code.

Thank you so much for reading! Please continue to keep my boy in your thoughts and prayers as we hope for continued success in managing this condition.

Weston's Arrival

Getting Weston from Panama to Las Vegas turned out to be quite the endeavor. He was originally scheduled to fly to Las Vegas and would have arrived at 11 pm Wednesday evening. Due to issues with customs, we changed his flight to Los Angeles and planned on picking him up Wednesday afternoon at 5 pm in California. Unfortunately, Weston didn't make it to his plane and had to take the next flight out. He arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday at 11:50 pm and was released to us at 1:30 am. We made the 4 1/2 hour drive back to Vegas, where I had to quickly change for work, and work throughout the next day. Exhausting!

The good news is, Weston made it safe and sound and has been settling into his new home. He absolutely adores Grayson and mimics everything he does. He also loves playing in the sprinklers and rolling in the mud. We're currently transitioning him on to a raw diet, which he has been very excited about. He is crazy about the raw meat!

Yesterday we gave Weston his first bath here. He was extremely well behaved and cooperative. It turns out that there is a super tiny puppy under all that fluff! He had major zoomies after bath time and proceeded to dirty right up again, but it's the thought that counts!

This morning we took Weston to the vet, where he received a clean bill of health. He is 13 weeks and 26 pounds.

Preparing for Weston

Let the countdown commence: Only three more days until we welcome a Berger Blanc Suisse puppy named Weston into our family.

I've been craving a puppy for over a year now and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring this little guy home. He was born to a litter featured on @frankiethewhitepup's instagram page, an account I've followed since I first adopted Grayson.

This week we've been making the final purchases and preparations, including puppy proofing our house, spending an embarrassing amount of money on dog toys, and getting ready to switch this little pup over to a raw diet.

More than anything, I'm so excited for Grayson to have a canine companion that he can bond and adventure with. Grayson is an incredibly friendly and playful dog and I know he's going to absolutely adore little Weston!