FEATURED POST: Roxanne’s Kitchen – 100% Natural, High Quality Dog Treats

Every good dog owner usually has an arsenal of treats. Treats are essential and used for training, building a rapport, or gaining your canine companion’s trust. Whenever I meet a foster dog, I always bring treats with me to establish a friendly, safe relationship. I have learned that not all treats are alike. Just as humans can make choices of snacks (Cookies vs. Apple), dog treats should be viewed similarly. As a foster parent, I have seen a plethora of unsightly issues with my foster dogs ranging from skin and coat issues (mange and dandruff), fleas, bad breath, and tummy troubles. They also often come to me very scared or overstimulated from transport. Many of these issues can be cured through proper nutrition, including a healthy, tasty treat.

roxanne1This week, Realm of Vibes has the pleasure of featuring Roxanne’s Kitchen. The owner, Christina, makes 100% all-natural, hand-crafted pet treats. She sells them online, and in pet stores in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. (I am working on NJ, Christina!) Her story started when she adopted a malnourished four-week-old Chihuahua, Roxanne. One morning, Christina woke up and found Roxanne to be listless. She wasn’t going to the bathroom or eating. Knowing something was very wrong, Christina rushed Roxanne to the veterinarian, where she was diagnosed with pancreatitis. Christina told the veterinarian that she gave Roxanne a few treats before bedtime. Little did she know that those generic treats almost killed her precious dog. After that, Christina went to work making 100% natural, holistic treats. Her small home business has now transpired into Roxanne’s Kitchen. All treats from Roxanne’s Kitchen are 100% natural, made with no artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, fillers, or ingredients. They are non-GMO and gluten free.

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Bailey

Christina believes strongly in dog rescue, so she donates 10% of all proceeds to no-kill shelters around the United States. I told Christina that I foster abused and neglected dogs, and wanted to feature her on Realm of Vibes, so she sent me two bags of Silky Smooth treats to try with Bailey and my foster dog, Heath.

Roxanne’s Kitchen’s Silky Smooth treats include salmon, oatmeal, and coconut oil. Each bag is 12 oz., which equates to approximately 25-30 large heart shaped treats, or approximately 50 small treats. I’m not going to lie, they smelled so good, I had to refrain from taking a nibble. The salmon is a good source of protein and omega fatty acids. They also contain Vitamin C, which helps immunity. Heath came to me with Demodex, so the Silky Smooth treats have everything he needs to help heal his sensitive skin.

20170117_154327Bailey, my dog, started sniffing the package as soon as the treats came through the door. She smelled the goodness. Heath, my foster dog, hides under the table, so when I opened the package and gave him a treat, he ran out from under the table, tail wagging, wanting more. Needless to say, both of my dogs could have eaten the whole package. Roxanne’s Kitchen’s Silky Smooth treats are the perfect size, perfect texture (not too soft or hard), and are extremely appetizing to both of my dogs. I feel good giving them something healthy.

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Heath

Roxanne’s Kitchen’s offers a variety of dog treat options, such as Plain Jane (diabetic approved) treats, Chillin’ Relaxation treats, Flea Buster treats, “Hippies” Joint Support treats, “Pee-Pee Protector” urinary health treats, “Pearly Whites” Breath Buster treats, “Immune Miracle” treats, “Swimmin’ Skinny” Weight Maintaining Sea Blend treats, “Growin’ Youngins” Puppy treats, “Belly Boosters” digestive treats, “Itch Saver” hypoallergenic treats, festive doggy donuts, 100% Natural Farm Raised Chicken & Beef Jerky, Anna’s Banana Chips, and Sweet Potato slices.

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Silky Smooth treats

Roxanne’s Kitchen’s website is super simple to navigate. On the front page, you can access purchasing dog treats, cat treats, the monthly treat-box club, and apparel and accessories. Dog and cat treats range from $10.99-$15.99. You can choose to sign up for the monthly treat-box club (packages are 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months), and purchase Roxanne’s Kitchen t-shirts. Make sure you visit Roxanne’s Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy.

Realm of Vibes and Roxanne’s Kitchen have teamed up to offer our loyal readers and customers 20% off all purchases. Use promocode ROVROX during checkout.

Namaste.

Disclosure: I received Roxanne’s Kitchen’s treats complimentary in return for a featured post on Realm of Vibes and social media platforms. All opinions within are honest and authentic. Have you considered featuring your business or service on Realm of Vibes? Please visit my Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started. 

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When a Foster Dog Leaves

scrappyA foster dog never leaves my home. Their memories are forever embedded in my heart. I look at their favorite spots, whether it be on the couch or in the yard, and it reminds me of their happiness. I provided a temporary, but very stable, nurturing home. They had gotten bathed in my tub to wash off the shelter filth, a different collar to give them a new identity, food, water, and a comfortable place to sleep. They played with an abundance of toys, received numerous treats and bully sticks, and were on schedule of two working humans, looking to give back and make a difference in the world. The foster dog gets its pictures and biography posted online and volunteers await applications, ready to begin reference and background checks. Meet and greets take place to see if the dog will be a good fit for the new person or family. If all goes well, the foster dog leaves to its furever home. I feel a mixture of emotions when my foster dog leaves, which I can compare to a cocktail; two parts happiness mixed with one part sadness, topped off with worry, shaken with relief, and poured into a half-full glass.

I am happy, because they have a new home.

I am sad, because they are leaving me. My labor of love ends.

I am worried, for the next 48 hours, hoping they adapt well to their new person/family and environment.

I am relieved, that I had a helping hand in making my foster dog an adoptable canine companion.

Before I meet with the potential adopters, I always spend some alone time with my foster dog. I pray that they always be cared for and loved. I give them a treat, belly rub, and kisses. I tell them I love them and was happy to be given the opportunity to take care of them. I let them play with Bailey, my 2-year-old rescue, in the yard, one last time.

I reflect on their progress. They arrived broken and leave mended, by life’s greatest virtue: love.

farrahWhen the adopters arrive, I appear nonchalant, but secretly, my insides ache. My heart drops into my stomach. I hold tears back from streaming down my face. I remind them that if it doesn’t work out, to call me, and I will take the dog back, no questions asked. The dog that doesn’t want to leave my home is the most painful to watch. I turn away, or the composure I work so hard to maintain will be lost. I enjoy watching the dog that leaves confidently, as I often wish I could tackle new adventures as fearlessly as they do.

As my foster dog is leaving my care, I must repeat to myself:

The next dog you rescue will probably be worse than this one. They need you. Let this one go.

This dog is going to a happy, healthy home. It will work out. Be positive.

I can’t keep all the dogs I rescue, so continue fostering, educating, and advocating.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. When they depart, they teach us about loss and acceptance. New dogs never replace the previous, they only expand our hearts and allow us to grow. Every dog I foster comes with a story, I just hope to give them the happiest of endings; a perfect forever home.

KiKi

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KiKi after her first bath ever

I had a slice of American cheese in my hand. I was laying prone down my foyer stairs trying to coax KiKi, my Akita/Belgian Malinois foster dog up the stairs.

The owner of the rescue came to my house with her Suburban full of dogs. She wanted to make sure that whichever dog she gave me got along with my dog, Bailey. When I met KiKi, she pressed herself up against the crate, indicating she was scared and not wanting to leave her safety zone. I turned to the rescue owner and said “You get her out! I’m not! She’s going to bite my face off!” With lots of coaxing, a calm voice, treats, and gentile manhandling, KiKi was free from the confines of the crate and on a leash. We took a quick walk to make sure her and Bailey were friendly enough to be off leash in the backyard. Bailey ambushed her, but KiKi looked to Bailey as a big sister, showing her the ropes of our palace.

KiKi was a dog from the South. I knew nothing of her background, so I formulated a story in my head. KiKi was an outside dog, she was never inside a home because she didn’t know how to go up and down stairs. A toy was a foreign object, one that peaked her interest, but she would approach cautiously, unsure of the toy’s intentions. She didn’t trust humans, either. Whoever had her, was a prick. She wanted nothing more to be outside. That is no life for a dog. Bailey, Ace, and Jack (my furfamily) are treated better than some humans. I love them more than myself.

The first night with KiKi was one for the books. We live in a bi-level, so stairs are a necessary evil. There is 7 steps to the front door. Once inside, you can either take 7 steps upstairs or 5 steps downstairs. KiKi entered through the downstairs entrance, and that is where she remained. She was not going anywhere near the stairs. She went outside and inside through the downstairs entrance only. I thought to myself, “How can I turn this outside dog into an inside dog?” She wasn’t fond of the crate (again, outside dog mentality), so I laid a warm red blanket down for her on the floor. She wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t drink water, and would just stare at me, as if to say, “What am I doing here?” I was heartbroken. She looked so sad. She wanted nothing that I had to offer. I slept with her on the red blanket. I just felt like she needed someone on her side, to know that I was there, with her food and water, and that we were going to get things right. She was in my care, and I was going to protect her and get her adopted to a good home.

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KiKi & Bailey, the Queens of the Castle

One of the most challenging things I had to do was teach KiKi to go up and down the stairs. Not only did we have to master the inside stairs, but we had to master both sets of outside stairs. I think I learn something new every time I have a foster dog that can’t do something. I tried putting Pupperonis on each step. No cigar. She would just eat the treats on the first two steps and then run away. I tried having Bailey be the example. “See! Look. Bailey! Come.” Bailey would run up the stairs and I would give her a pet and a treat. KiKi would whimper in disgust and aggravation. I tried placing her gently on the steps, in which she would shake, and it no longer became a positive, happy experience. So, I laid prone on the steps with cheese in hand, and Bailey next to me for moral support. Nope. She wouldn’t budge. I got Jason to lay prone and hold cheese, and I guided her legs up the stairs. Finally, she did it. And we practiced, and practiced, and practiced some more. Two hours later and we had KiKi running up and down the stairs. Positive reinforcement. Success. It took another day to teach her how to go up and down the outside steps. Baby steps.

KiKi had an application for adoption. The man walked many miles each day and wanted a dog to walk well with his dog. KiKi, thankfully, was amazing on a leash. After almost six days with me, she was a new dog. She pranced. She slapped her paws against the ground, happy to be alive. She saw me get the leash out of the closet and would run down the stairs by the door. I loved taking her on walks because we were both in our happy place; me, getting my exercise outdoors, and her prancing down the street, sassy as ever.

I don’t know the rest of KiKi’s story. Some of the adopters and I keep in touch through text messaging or social media facets, but KiKi’s life is a mystery. Last I heard, her family loved her, and that she was walking miles each day, happily, with her canine sibling.

Whether it takes me two hours guiding a foster dog up the stairs to get her to the American cheese prize or sleeping on a blanket on the floor, I will do anything to make these dogs feel safe, happy, and alive. I get unconditional love, and gratitude for life, and they get the skills they need to become an adoptable, well behaved canine companion. Happy trails, KiKi. Win-win for all.

Namaste.

Play Dead

“He should be in the ASPCA commercial, he would bring in all the donations!”

“Your cats are friendlier than your foster dog!”

20161225_150419“Can I adopt your dog? She’s great!”

I have never witnessed anything like it in my life.

I told the potential adopter that Heath, my 10-month-old black lab mix, was shy and scared. I told him that he has irritated skin, probably from stress, and comes with an antibiotic and a medicated shampoo. I was honest and upfront about all of Heath’s qualities. He needs work. As do most people in the world (hello, blogging & wine).

His background, I don’t know and can’t even imagine. When I get a foster in his state (scared, submissive, untrusting), I formulate stories in my head. My story of Heath was that he was rescued down South, spent most of his time in a crate and away from people, and that his interactions with people were limited or not pleasant. He knows what a ball is, and plays appropriately with toys, so that leads me to believe he had some interaction… but he cowers when I pet his head, and he still waits to see how I interact with Bailey before he comes and approaches me. It took me 40 minutes to lure him out of the crate the first night he arrived, but now, his hiding spot is underneath the kitchen table. He comes out from hiding on his terms in his time. Baby steps.

The potential adopter sent me a text message saying that he would arrive in 5 minutes, in which I began to give Heath a long pep-talk. It went like this: “You got this buddy. You want to go home for Christmas. You can do it. These are nice people, good people, and they are going to love you, and you are going to love them. You need to put on a good show. Now is your chance, Heath. I will be right here with you. ”

The potential adopter and his family came into my living room. Heath army crawled around on the couch and then he ran and hid underneath my kitchen table. I retrieved him from under the table and I tried placing him in the potential adopter’s lap. No cigar. Heath wanted off and out, now. I tried encouraging Bailey to play with him. I tried to get him to play with a toy. I tried to give him treats. I tried bringing the cats around so he could chase them. Something. Anything. I think I burned holes through my sweatshirt running around trying to figure out how to get him to do SOMETHING other than be scared and sad.

Then, Heath actually did something. He rolled on his back and exposed his white chest, put his front paws in the air, closed his eyes, and played dead. He couldn’t handle the meet and greet. He wanted our eyes off of him. He gave me the something I so desperately wanted. He laid on my floor, motionless, as if to say, “Is this over yet? Because I’ve had enough. My eyes bulged out of my head, my mouth was wide open, and my rosacea-like cheeks turned a new shade of pink. I opened my palm, slapped it against my forehead, and said “He is just really submissive.” Face palm. Foot in mouth. FML.

The potential adopter and I exchanged awkward pleasantries along the lines of sorry for wasting your time and I’ll let you know if a dog comes along that is a little more outgoing. Heath needs to work on his socialization skills, which requires a lot of time. There was unfortunately no connection between Heath and the potential adopter. There was, however, me, the foster parent, running around like an idiot trying to get Heath to be someone he is not…

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I talked to Jason (who wasn’t home to witness the playing dead drama), my mom, sister, and people from the rescue who couldn’t believe that it happened. They laughed, said “Oh no!,” and gave me some helpful advice.

I laugh, because I think of the everyday situations in which I wish I could play dead like Heath. I would just lay on my back with my legs and arms in the air, close my eyes and be like “F this shit, I’m done.” I thought it was funny and sad, all at the same time. Funny because that was his time to shine! I gave him a pep talk! We discussed this! And, what does he do? Play possum. It’s sad because God only knows what has happened to him to have him shut down and play dead. I feel like my life has so many of those funny-sad moments. I could relate to Heath, the days that I just stay in bed and mutter to myself “Nothing can happen to me here.” I think if I played dead in the middle of the rehab gym or in the middle of Jason talking to me, it wouldn’t be socially acceptable as I am not a canine, but it would make for a very interesting story.

Doors open and close each day in our lives. Heath decided to play dead when an opportunity was wide open for him to be adopted into a forever home. But I think Heath playing dead had a bigger meaning. He’s content here, he’s slowly becoming more comfortable, and maybe, he knew he is just not ready to leave.

20161223_211714Heath will find a home. He will find a person or family that will understand him and his quirks, that will accept his shyness and love for his hiding spots. Heath is an amazing little fellow. He observes from afar, licks your hand, takes treats nicely, and isn’t afraid to be himself. He perks up when he sees me take out a leash and enjoys his kibble with chicken and cheese.

When life gets tough, don’t be afraid to play dead.  The right door will open when you least expect it and in the interim, you’ll have the opportunity to work on your quirks.

You got this, Heath. I’m with you every step of the way.

Namaste.