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Umm…. well… Yeah, this happened

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Funny how you can wake up one day and just know it’s going to be “one of those days.”

So, the other day, I woke up to a cold nose in my warm armpit.  This isn’t too terribly unusual and as I groaned and rolled over to check my clock to see if I had to force myself to get up, I realized one leg was pinned to the bed by a 100lb German Shepherd I was boarding.  See, I hadn’t realized this rather cumbersome weight because all feeling and sensation ceased to exist in my leg.  As I pryed Wishbone (aforementioned, sound sleeping, large German Shepherd) off my pseudo limb, I gave a slight gasp as the blood rushed into the leg, followed by those really gnarly pins and needles.

It took an excruciatingly long time to get feeling enough back in my leg and foot to actually manage any purposeful task like placing my fuzzy slippers on my feet and shuffling my way to the most amazing and essential of all wordly inventions… the coffee maker.

Waking up is rough in my house.  Its a virtual obstacle course of dogs. One must be sharp, nimble and quick on their feet to minimize the amount of time it takes to actually be able to hold a steaming cup of coffee to ones lips. There are just so many legs, wiggly butts, noses and good morning kisses to get through.  You’re lucky if you don’t trip or get caught up in the bottleneck between the hallway and the bathroom.  Add to this that I have a need for some pretty high-powered corrective lenses, and you can plan on a good three to five minute delay before even making it into the kitchen.

After achieving enough feeling in my leg to be able to perform simple and productive movement, I began the task of making my way to my beloved coffee maker.  Yawning, I reached for the air tight canister marked “COFFEE”, only to find it dishearteningly light in weight.  My heart immediately skipped a beat and there was a tremor in my hands as I fumbled with the latch that always provides that wonderful “puff” of luxurious coffee bean aroma. You know that almost compulsory need to shake a container to make certain it is in fact empty? Like shaking it will suddenly summon something to suddenly appear?!?  I did this. Not once or twice, but three…yes…ashamedly, three times before grim reality set in.

As I planned for my day, caffeine-free, I wore the naggy feeling I was not destined to experience one of my top ten days, like a wet wool blanket around my shoulders.  Of course, this made me even more droopy and “prickly” as I headed to a daily walk with two dogs that I adore.  It was a pretty hot day, and as I stepped out into the glare of the sun, I immediately felt the small twinge of a headache coming on.

Being around dogs always seem to brighten my days and though I was suffering from a rather healthy caffeine headache, I knew that I would be able to seek sollace at my favorite coffee stand soon and sweet relief would befall me.  This helped me endure the hour long walk in a hazy daze, and things looked to be going smoothly.  I wasnt at my sharpest, but life went on. Clearly I was not on top of my game when my shoulder was almost ripped out of its socket as one of the two dogs I was walking (an almost 175lb Great Pyrenes/Anatolian Shepherd Mix) caught wind…or…sight…not sure which, because I could definitely smell it in the heat, of a somewhat flattened squirrel, laying prone in the road.

Not wanting to drop the leash, I was drug, helpless, half walking, falling and contorting in ways even award winning gymnasts would be proud of, as the dog sought to place this lifeless squirrel upon his awaiting tongue.

When my mind and body caught up with what was actually happening, my nose was painfully accosted by the overpowering scent of decomposition.  I tried not to gag.  No amount of alpha posturing and commanding “drop it”, “leave it” or “give” was going to work on this most wonderful of treasures.  Standing helpless in the middle of a busy residential street, on a hot summer day with the scent of dead animal wafting, I had to plot a clever and devious plan to rid this dog of its most prized possession. I tried clutching a poo bag in my hand and grabbing one end of the squirrel and forcing the squirrel from the dogs mouth.  This created a rather grotesque and unpleasant sound, accompanied by an equally unpleasant sight of  many thriving maggots in the stomach of said dead squirrel.

Fighting the urge to vomit, I stopped walking and stood to assess the situation. It was during this brief moment, after I said a few choice words under my breath, I took notice of the people driving by in their cars. They stared in disgust at the crazy woman standing with a huge dog that was allowed to proudly parade his kill up and down the street.  I was mortified, but could not find it in myself to try and pry it out of his mouth again after the last reveal. I decided I would have to walk the next mile, smelling of decomposing squirrel as though it was no big deal, all the while dizzy, headachey and sick to my stomach from the sight and smell.

After enduring many disapproving stares and disgust, we arrived back at the house.  I knew there was no way I could stop that dog from bringing that horrible thing inside with all its…. maggoty  “inhabitants.” I cleverly rummaged the cupboards to find the most tasty and mouth watering treat and offered it in place of the squirrel.  The deal was “drop it” and you get this lovely morsel…… after a few tense moments of contemplation and an impressive stare down, it was clearly a “no deal”, and he carried the squirrel proudly over to the softly plush, leather couch.

I almost died! I saw my life flash before my eyes and things slowed way down….I had to think quick! But how? I hadn’t had enough coffee to even wake up my brain and though adrenaline was trying to give me a little jump start, would it be enough to save that leather couch????

Bacon… It HAD to be BACON!

I heard the owner say that bacon was his favorite treat. If I had even half a chance it had to be bacon.

I rushed to the refrigerator, sweat beading on my brow. I threw cheese, milk and vegetables to the side, until I saw a half buried wrapper with the words “sli…….on” visible. It was a long shot, but I had to try! Throwing stuff aside, I found what I was looking for, and grabbed a slice.  My heart beat wildly in my cehst as I called his name, dancing the piece of bacon vulgarly in front of his squirrel filled snout.

In almost slow motion he slowly started to lay the squirrel down on the hardwood floor.  Ready  and waiting, I firmly said “SIT” and waggled that piece of bacon in front of his nose.  He was hooked! I had a split second to respond with a recycled grocery bag! I performed a lightening fast swoop and drop!!!  I swooped in to pick up the squirrel carcass while dropping the slice bacon!

VICTORY!!!  I had won!  I ran to the garbage and threw the bag out, all before the dog had even licked the last bit of grease from the side of his nose.  He sniffed around, confused… I smiled rather timidly and let myself out.  As I walked to the car, all I could think about was that cup of coffee… skinny, nonfat vanilla latte….that would make everything okay…







Calling all Angels

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Memories are the most precious commodity we human beings possess. No matter how hard a person tries, they can not take them from you. We are rich beyond our wildest dreams because of them, and they are carefully stored deep in the recesses of the mind. A memory can evoke an emotional response so strong it can momentarily propel you back to that moment  in time.  It is with this precious gift I lean very heavily this week.

Ante, our 9 year old Bergamasco Sheepdog suddenly passed away August 11th at 3:30am from Spontaneous Closed Pneumothorax. Very little warning, and acute symptoms led us to his Veterinarian on Saturday, August 10th, at noon. By 12:30pm we were headed to critical care and within the hour he was in surgery for his first bilateral chest tap to draw almost 5liters of air from his chest cavity, causing both lungs to collapse and to displace his heart.  He was given a 50:50 chance for his lungs to collapse again and the air to leak back into the chest cavity, and was placed in critical care.

I had come home to gather a T-Shirt out of the dirty clothes hamper that my husband had worn recently and I purposefully wore for an hour or so while I planted a few flowers in the garden. I had to wait until he was stable enough to be visited and I could surround his kennel with our familiar scent from the T-Shirt we had each worn.  My tears helped water those flowers as I angrily clawed at the earth and sat helpless and sad while they streamed uncontrollably down my face.

Ante was stable enough to be taken off the oxygen at about 7pm and was brought to me in a private room where I could lay with him on the floor of the hospital on a blanket they provided. We spent an hour and a half together, my talking to him about everything and nothing. My voice sounded so loud in that little room. My words hung in the air before they fell with my tears soaking into the flocks on his paws.  Both of his sides had been shaved in an approximate 8″ radius on each side and he had two angry wounds where they had performed the emergency chest tap. I watched his chest rise and fall as I spoke, and talked away the minutes while I held him close.

I’m not certain when I realized it, or if I had been aware of it all along, but while Ante lay with the T-Shirt under his head and near his nose, his chest seemed to rise and fall at an irregular and shallow rate. I may have refused to see it, not wanting it to be true. My heart literally hurt like it was being torn in two and I felt physically ill.

At one point, about an hour and fifteen minutes into our time together, Ante raised his sweet face and looked me directly in the eyes. I raised my head to look into his eyes. I swear I could see clear into his sweet little soul and I could not be more certain if he had suddenly spoken the words himself….it was time for me to let  him go. Our sweet, precious baby, our loyal friend and companion of 9 years, that had surely been taken for granted and had shared so many memories, was telling me it was okay to let him go.  There was strength, courage and a regal air in his expression that was astoundingly profound and gave me chills. He held my gaze and spoke to my breaking heart through his kind and patient eyes.

I am not going to lie. I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to soothe my heart that hung bitterly in my throat and choked my words. I clung to hope, I prayed for the surgeon’s wisdom, I called out for the Vet Tech to come check on him. I exclaimed with fear that I thought he was struggling for air and I thought we should perform another X-Ray to make certain his chest cavity was not filling with air again. They agreed, and wanted to place him back on oxygen. I asked if I could stay and await the results.

I replay the look in his eyes at that moment numerous times. It was during that horrible time, waiting alone in that little room, I simply knew…. I knew in my mind what my heart refused to accept. Ante would not return home. It was his time. More importantly, HE was ready to go and was patiently waiting for me to see it. This was my time to show & give back to him the unconditional love he had so willingly provided to me and our family for 9 years. We had to love him so much that we were  willing to take on the pain of losing him so that they he could be at peace.

When the Vet Tech came back in to tell me that he had increased air in his chest cavity , my heart sank. They did mention to me that there was still a small chance that the “leak” would wall off and he could potentially recover.  I took a deep and agonizingly painful breath and told the technician I wanted to sign a “no resuscitate” form, but wanted to be notified immediately if he took a turn for the worse in the middle of the night so that we could end his suffering with his family near.

I don’t remember much of the drive home, I felt numb and almost incapacitated by the weight of it all.  I felt as though I couldn’t summon the energy to talk. I wanted to come home, crawl into bed and simply cry myself to sleep.  Which I did after calling my husband at work. He agreed with my decision.

We received a phone call from the Critical Care Center letting us know that Ante had taken a turn for the worse at 3:15am.  With heavy hearts, my kids, husband and I piled in the car and drove in silence to the Center. When we arrived, we were met at the door by the attending physician. They stated that in the last 5 minutes Ante had gone downhill quickly and we needed to run to be with him as his time was very near.

We quickly followed in fear and desperation. Laying on the ground, hooked up to oxygen and IV Fluids, Ante lay struggling for every breath he took. His chest was puffed up with the air that was suffocating him. My heart lurched in my chest and I immediately took his head in my arms. My husband, and son gathered near and touched and spoke to him as well. I leaned close and spoke quietly in his ear telling him how much I loved him and how much he meant to us.

While my tears burned down my face he took one last look at us and stopped breathing on his own. I asked the doctor to administer the meds to stop his heart as well, because I did not want him to struggle while his heart continued to try and beat.

Knowing he had waited until we had gotten there to give up his fight was his last and most wonderfully selfless gift. He wanted to say goodbye and did not die without his family surrounding him.  I was almost unable to walk out of the clinic. The weight of the grief cloaked me in a despair that only the loss of a loved one can bring. I felt heavy with it for days and have my good and bad days. I await the day that he visits me in a dream, bounding up to me again with his carefree and happy gait, letting me know he is okay and running with the angels.

Enzo, our other Bergamasco adolescent  feels his absence and has been depressed. Lila, our Chihuahua is less obvious in her grief, but both have been somber. For the first two days, Enzo sat in our big picture window with his head on the window sill just watching and waiting for something that never came. My heart breaks for him.

It is his time now, but it will take some time for him to let go and embrace it. We will be with him every step of the way.

AnteCalTank photo-1


Beauty Sleep Is Highly Overrated….right?

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Oh dear, it has been much too long my fuzzy-bun loving friends!!!  I have been really busy with Stella & Floyds and have had so much to do, I’m never really certain if I am coming or going these days!!!! There is one thing I do know for certain is that I prefer to think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder….

Allow me to back up and catch you up to speed!  Here at Stella & Floyds, my husband and I feel our boarders, daycares and four-legged guests should be allowed to treat our home as their own. This means that each pooch can decide on where they wish to lay down for a between-ball-chasing-session snoozer, or to take a serious nights rest at the end of a long day of tail chasing, fetch and rough housing! This has been our policy since we opened our doors and we have always upheld that motto no matter the consequence….in other words- droopy, dark-double(or in extreme cases, TRIPLE) bags beneath each HUMAN eye is a common pitfall! There are days that both my husband and I awaken looking more like “Bill the Cat” than a rested, refreshed human being. ***For those of you too young to identify with that reference, please do take the time to google “Bill the Cat”, and it will provide you with the perfect visual for what we see staring back at us from the bathroom mirror upon prying our eyes open at the crack of dawn to start our perspective days.

You see, as many hundreds of breeds of dog there are out there in the big ol’ world, there are just as many crazy  contortions that these dogs choose to lay their humble selves to rest at night…if they weren’t so cute, sweet and darned adorable….

I pretty much jokingly categorize my boarders into their perspective sleep-preferences.

There are are those that insist on sharing your pillow. This is most unpleasant, and generally becomes apparent when you have been “tough” and drawn the proverbial line at them laying their fuzzy heads on your silky, 1000 thread count sheets, only to wake up with your cheek moist from their drool pool.

Then there are the sneaky-snugglers. These are some of my very favorite! You know the ones that want to fit into every contour of your body and manage to wiggle their way anywhere they wish, by ever so slowly weaseling themselves as close to you as they can possibly be without actually BECOMING a part of you!.

Most of the big dogs I have for pajama parties, choose to crawl up all non-chalant and act all civilized by starting out the night sweetly respecting your space and at the end of the bed. This is all great and dandy!  Forcing you into a false sense of security–Ahhhhh….Glorious foot space!!!!  Unbeknownst to you, they have a plan.    An evil plan.     It is well thought out, and executed like a well trained soldier.   They patiently wait, see, (its all in the patient waiting.)   Wait for your breathing to become a little slower, a little deeper…..  Once they feel you are in a good REM pattern, they use their stealth-like ninja skills to slink their way up to the head of the bed, schmoozle their way under the blankets, ever so slowly….. once they have created a nice cocoon of warmth between my husband and myself, they surreptitiously slink between the covers and lay down. Their plan can only work as long as they stay awake! Alas, they must sleep and when they do….they stretch, kick, drool and lay SPREAD EAGLE between my husband and myself! Fuzzy legs & butt on me, head on my husband, pushing each of us to the very edge of the bed, clinging to the  last wrinkle in the sheet  to just stay ON the bed!  Dog…..tummy up, tongue lolled to the side hanging out, ears strewn in reckless abandon….

at least one of us is having a great nights sleep……..





I need webbed feet or flippers

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

I just had to share this little story. Yesterday was just awful with wind and near horizontal rain gusts that took my breath away and left me soaked, soggy and sad. I had just finished an hour long, arduously cold walk in the rain and wind when I slogged my way to one of my favorite two Rat Terrier  clients for the post lunch walkies. Now, I simply adore Rat Terriers in general and in particular the quirky fun personality of my pretty pink princess, Jacey! (she wears a beeee-ooooo-ti-full pink harness and leash when she prances outside for her walks, thus the clever name) Jacey is a very dainty girlie girl and knows just how to con you out of just about anything, a morsel of food, a kiss or the shirt off your back in a snow storm. Simply put, when it comes to wily ways, Jacey wrote the book!

Well, as I said previously it was a “typical” Seattle grey day and had been raining buckets for the last 3 days, I was cold, droopy and soaked to the skin despite my rain gear due to the wind.  I walked in, gave my lovies and scritches and put on their harnesses telling them each about how wet is was outside and how I couldn’t wait for the sun to make an appearance etc…

Upon standing on the landing by the stairwell I could foresee an obvious issue arising. Jacey looked at the rain, felt the wind whip her ears back flat against her tiny little head as she braced her dainty little shivery legs on the sidewalk, looked back at me and plain as day said with her squinty-eyed look, “you are crazy if you think I am going to place one toenail further into this hideous weather”. I stifled a laugh and tried to cajole she and Carson, her easy going partner in crime, (a more common sized Rat Terrier with a sweet, loving nature.)out into the driving rain. Carson sighed, acquiesced and stepped forth, leaning his head into the wind and sheets of rain simply to get down to business and back cozy in his warm bed. Jacey planted those shivery little legs, dug her toenails into the cement and again gave me the “squinty-eye”.  I pulled lightly on her pretty pink leash and harness and she had no choice but to move forward one begrudging toenail at a time. Now, I can honestly say, she spent 90% of the short walk to the closest patch of grass trying to float on top of the water and never had all her feet on the ground at one time. I even half expected her to sprout wings out of sheer will to not get her toesies wet and would honestly not have been shocked in the least.

The only time she seemed to think about anything other than dodging raindrops and driving wind was when she had to side-step a small puddle that Carson seemed intrigued by. She nuzzled him aside and stared deep into the puddle to watch carefully as a plump, waterlogged worm, slowly squirmed its way to the surface of the puddle. Realizing it was nothing but a silly worm, and of little concern, she used all her powerful 10lbs to literally drag me to her door while she stood shivering and wet waiting for me to unlock the door and get out the warm cozy towel in which to dry them off. She wound herself up in that towel, nestled and preened as I rubbed she and Carson dry, all the while telling them what “poor little babies” they were for having to endure such treacherous weather conditions. With a chicken jerky treat and a nuzzle or two she seemed to calm down and forgive me terrible wrong. Okay….honestly though I gave them an extra treat just to be certain there were no ill feelings….


Ahhhhh, Its been too long…..

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Wow, how time flies when you are busy and have family….I know, not having enough hours in the day is the bane of all our existence.  I find myself thinking that if I did not have  to sleep or eat I could get so many more things accomplished!  Oh the down side of being human….. actually, truth be told, I really, really, did I mention really? like to crawl into bed at the end of a long day and relax wedged on the very very edge of my bed clinging with my toenails and fingernails to stay on/in my allotted space because I have at least one dog that prefers to sleep spread eagle in the middle of the bed between myself and my husband in slumbering bliss. Neither of us have the heart to wake the dog and move them, so we suffer the kinks and crooks in our necks and backs. Don’t lie, I know that there are MORE than a few of you folks out there that do that too!

I end up waking up spooning with my fuzzy puppy Enzo more often than not! Or go in to give a good morning kiss to my husband to find a very fuzzy muzzle, waggy butt and  wet nose at lightening speed before I can even muster a full pucker! Sly little ones aren’t they?!?

Oh and to catch you up to speed, I adopted another Bergamasco puppy in January from New York, named Enzo. He is HUGE for his age, bigger than my Ante and full of energy and lighthearted mischief. I adopted him at 6.5 months old and he is now 8.5 months now.  He is all fuzz and happiness, but has had a few issues. He was a late bloomer, last one of a very large litter to open his eyes, walk, wean, eat solids etc. and thus suffered a little I imagine from his litter mates, which truth be told is the way of the wild…Having suffered this minor imposed “stationing” he was the scape goat for many of his litter mates and I feel probably an eensie weensie bit picked on for it. It has left him slightly fearful in new situations. I am training him to be confident by setting up win-win situations and socialization skills, with the guided help of a trainer. Shwew! Lots of hard work, but I am up for the challenge!  Pray for me folks!

I have also been asked to become a board member for the City of Edmonds O.L.A.E (Off Leash Area Edmonds) to help create a new off leash dog park in the Edmonds area that I have been frequently with my doggie clients! This park is PERFECT for a dog park, and has some gorgeous wooded trails….ah the possibilities. My husband rolls his eyes as I draw sketches of doggy toys, agility equipment as well as some trash and “poo bag” receptacles that are fun, fresh and fantastic!  Anything creative is my forte!  I am all over that! I will keep you all posted. Let me know if you have any ideas that YOU would like to see in your community dog park! Who knows, maybe we will feature it and provide you credit for it!




I am back!

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Sorry for the lack of blog posts! We had a dishwasher leak in kitchen and we had to live in the Best Western by our house for a few weeks! You all know how much fun that can be…..

I am here to tell you, I am back and sassier than ever so be prepared! Stay tuned……


And a very Merry Christmas to you!

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

Well, here at Stella & Floyds, we had a good Christmas! The dogs I’m boarding now all got to model wearing their Santa hats and having their pictures taken. Some like this process much more than others and I have to admit, I worked up a sweat chasing around some trying to snap a photo while they are still tolerating the strange confining piece of fabric I had placed on their heads and then oogled with great excitement at how adorable they were. Let’s just say that they all have the little hearts of angels.

Ante, my dog, a 7 yo, rare breed Bergamasco Sheepdog, is used to me and the things that I do to amuse myself! He simply  humors me by putting up with it with the patience of a saint. Now THAT is unconditional love. I must confess, I have a habit of making up silly rhyming songs about pretty much anything. (This is not confined to my animals and boarders, oh no!, my kids and husband get to enjoy this little habit of mine as well!) These songs really make zero sense and more often than not, have creatively exhumed nonsensical words that simply roll off the tip of my tongue without thought. For example: Ante, spoo-spante-too-tante-poo-rante-to0-tante-roo-ante– spante-too-ante-roo-spante-too-oo-ooo” Sing it with me now!

Another fun activity is to braid his many flocks and place bright colored “pretties” throughout his hair or dressing him up as Bob Marley, complete with a pair of Jon Lennon spectacles, or my very most favorite– placing my bra on his head over his ears and calling him “my little Princess Leah”.  I know, you are thinking, “what a poor, poor dog”. You know, he just stares at me with this look that says, “I’m glad one of us finds great humor in this little fun game of yours”…..and then he gives me a look that clearly states “THIS is proof of how much I love you……”

Ante did get a good stocking from Santa today though! He got some yummy Bacon & Cheddar organic treats, a big, shiny, new, red kibble scoop, a new metal bowl,(because plastic or ceramic is too porous and can encourage bacterial growth from fuzzy muzzles) and his very most favoritist toy EVER….a Bottle Buddy! This week I took him to our local All the Best Pet Care and had him choose his favorite bottle buddy. When faced with the array of  “farm animal” Bottle Buddies he could chose from, this year he sniffed them all, extensively and chose the white sherpa sheep. Now, I must be very clear, this was NOT a decision he took lightly.  He knows the gravity of this decision and is greatly aware that one must NEVER take the choice of which Bottle Buddy to share your life with lightly. It is of the utmost importance, and Ante knows this, as NOT ALL BOTTLE BUDDIES ARE CREATED EQUALLY!!!!

Having shared our house and lives with many Bottle Buddies, the most durable, most protective and scrackly sounding Bottle Buddy is hands-down made by KyJen. Every dog client I have, has free access to the community toy box in my house, and they all know where it is. I rotate the toys weekly and use PawSafe Cleaning Solution to disinfect all the toys so we don’t spread ickies from dog to dog, and they all poke their nose in and schnuzzle in there until they find the toy they want. Inevitably when their nose hits one of the Bottle Buddies and they hear that heavenly “scrackly” sound, it is hands down, my most popular toy. (Allow me to preface that, by stating that a peanut butter filled Kong is a crowd favorite too, for pretty obvious reasons)

So, the day was filled with the wonderful sound of children’s laughter, dogs barking, a crackling fire,  and most importantly, the heavenly sound of a very loved   Bottle Buddy!

For a link to the best bottle buddies check this out,

Merry Christmas Everyone!


18 Day Old Bergamasco Puppies-MERRY CHRISTMAS

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

This video was sent to me by Donna & Stephen DeFalcis of Silver Pastori Kennels.

I purchased my first Bergamasco from them almost 9 years ago and she and my male Bergamasco had two litters of puppies together. I was part of a program to bring the Bergamasco out of eminent extinction in Italy and was mentored by Donna and Maria Andreoli, the late Geneticist and author from Italy. We placed 17 puppies between the two litters across the United States and Canada. This wonderful video made me smile, warmed my heart and I wanted to share with all of you.

Please do ENJOY!


Poo & Pee around the Christmas Tree…..

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Oh what a joyous day! I woke up this morning to a not so pleasant smell. I lay there blinking in the dark of the room knowing when I get up I am going to have to clean up a mess. What a way to start my day! I know, you all wish you could be in my slippers this morning….

Usually for Christmas and any holiday really, I have no less than 6 dogs bounding and pounding around the house. Wiggly butts, cold noses and prime toe cooling moments are prevalent during the holidays, but this year I had to limit the dogs to 3. We had a leak from a dishwasher hose for God only knows how long, in which by the time we discovered it, our kitchen and dining room were pretty much a complete loss. Our small little rambler filled with love, was now filled with mold spores and water.  Our insurance company began “Mission-Dry Out Nealey House” and had a platoon of contractors, plumbers, drywallers, electricians and mold mitigators descend upon the house.

With all the people coming in and out, my boarders could wiggle their ways into areas of scary, uncharted territory. (Cue music…dun, dun, duh…….)My 16 year old daughters room was left unmanned. Now, had I known this, I would have called in for extra reinforcements, but I mistakenly let my guard down and sadly paid for it with many casualties.

Allow me to enlighten you, you see, my daughter is 16 and really prefers to keep her clothes on the floor in piles of assumed clean and dirty with slight crossovers at times. This is not because she does not have ample storage for her clothes, it is simply her way of organizing. I usually tell a family member when I have to venture into her room in case I don’t come out, they can send in a rescue squad.  I do not know how she finds anything in there, and am shocked at what I find discarded in corners, trash cans and under a pile of innocuous clothes when I am in search of something in particular. Not gonna lie, I say a little prayer before going into the awaiting “danger zone”.

SO, it wasn’t a super big surprise when I find one of my Rhodesian Ridgeback boarders in her room shoveling clothes around with her nose, obviously on a scent trail. Simultaneously a contractor called for my help and I left the scene…if I had only known what I know now, I never would have left.

After approximately 15 minutes, I return to my daughters room to find that same dog with the telltale signs of her having found the most wonderful treasure! Shreds of plastic sandwich baggie are strewn haphazardly around the room, and the part of the sandwich bag that wasn’t consumed had the disgustingly fuzzy, green mold remnants of a lunch meat, cheese and mayo combo. Oh how yummy. I quickly cleaned up the mess and ushered all the four-legged onlookers out of her room and under my watchful eye again..

Later in the evening I fell asleep watching TV with my head on the rump of Gracie (the moldy sandwich offender) and was rudely awakened by Gracie passing gas. The moldy sandwich clearly was making a comeback. I let her out with the rest of our crew, tucked them all in for the night and drug myself to bed.

Roughly 6 hours later, I woke up to the telltale offensive scent of an accident having happened somewhere in my home. It was just a matter of following my accosted nose to find the “deposit”. I wear contacts and it is fairly safe to say that I can’t see much without my contacts or glasses, but the desire to clean the source of that scent over ruled my desire to find my glasses. With the house being a disaster and ripped up to the sub-floors, you really have to pick a path through the mess and I began my blind stumblings.

Well, let us just suffice it to say that the dog pile, was much less of a pile, and much more closely resembled a puddle. That sandwich was taking its vengeance on us all. I cleaned up that mess only to step over some household debris and go barefoot, ice skating across my tile floor in yet another such dog “puddle”. I slid, contorted and pulled a breast muscle trying to catch myself on the wall. I am so thankful that no one was up to see me in my moment of crowning glory. My biggest fear was that I would slide into the Christmas tree and all my Christmas ornaments would come crashing down around us. Thinking back now, I find it sadly humorous that THAT was my thought at that time, not the fact that I had slid barefoot for at least 6 inches through dog poo.

To make matters slightly worse, I had cleaned up the plethora of messes carefully deposited around the house, washed my hands and poured myself a much deserved cup of coffee. As I sat down to cuddle with the dogs and talk with my son. The intact, male Portuguese Water dog, (23months) I am boarding, sauntered happily over to my live Christmas tree and peed on it! Here I go again!

Merry Christmas Eve to me!




Wags & Wiggles UNLEASHED

By Juls  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Stella & Floyds UNLEASHED has arrived…OH lucky you!

I have been asked by many of my clients, friends and family to write a book about some of the things I experience on a day to day basis with the pets I serve and their people, as well as throw in a few snippets of my personal life  here and there…um…thought I would start here first, being that baby steps are so important.

With that having been said, I really feel it necessary to advise you now to grab your favorite drink, place those cute little piggies of yours in a pair of cozy, fuzzy slippers and buckle your seatbelt, because you are in for one bumpy ride.

My name is Julie Nealey, and I am somewhat of an animal enthusiast. Well, actually, scratch that…it might be more accurate to call me an animal fanatic. I absolutely adore anything with fur, a cold, wet nose, wiggly butt and eyes that pierce that warm little spot in my heart. Simply put, I am a sucker for cold, wet, morning schnuzzles in my slumbering eye socket while trying to sleep in past 9:00am. Its almost as good as the sound of my kids (when they were little) in their fuzzy little footie jammies, padding down the hallway with their teddy bears crooked haphazardly under their little arms, crawling into bed with my husband and myself for those few quiet cuddles before we hit the ground running for our daily dose of chaos.

I have been in the “pet care industry” in some form or another, for over 7 years, although just 2 years ago opened Stella & Floyds Professional Pet Care. I am convinced that a home is not home without a waggly butt and loving, unconditional eyes that are there to greet me at the door. (Shhhhh……don’t tell anyone… I can not love my husband of 20 years any more than I already do, but no matter how many times he waggles his butt at me and stares at me when I come home, I just don’t get the same feeling as I do when my dog greets me.) I know, I know,  I probably have many years of therapy ahead of me for that last statement alone. My husband, bless his ever-loving, patient heart, understands this about me and continues to love me despite my many foibles & quirks, and for that I say “Praise the Lord.”

My motto when it comes to pets, is the more the merrier!  But must be practical. There is only one of me, and so many cold, wet noses to kiss….oh the possibilities! I wholeheartedly confident that I am up for the challenge.


April 2018
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