Our lasts mean Reagans firsts

Okay people, we are under the one week mark (technically under 6 days today) until Raegan comes home! Let the last minute preparations commence: fluff her dog bed one last time, shine her water bowl, ensure the squeakers in her toys are at 100% working level, oooh these are fun. Okay anyways.

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We are so ready for her homecoming! This journey will kick off a long list of her firsts: her first car ride, her first walk, her first bath, her first 1v1 fight with an ice cube. Don’t worry we’ll record that last one. Kind of like when my father recorded me discovering a worm for the first time. *Scarred for life*

We can’t wait to give her these firsts, just like she’s giving to us. But with that, comes a lot of our lasts. Don’t worry, we’re completely okay with it.

Goodbye sleeping in. Goodbye staying inside during the horrible winter months. Goodbye wardrobe and hello dog hair. Goodbye social life, or what we had of one. Goodbye spontaneous weekend trips.

And hello Reagan.

In honor of our first puppy and Reagan’s long list of firsts that are right around the corner, we are celebrating our last weekend before becoming dog parents. We decided why not go out with a bang? Well, as bangyish as we’re willing to get at this point in our lives. We figured it won’t be particularly easy for us to pack up a bag and spontaneously take off for a weekend trip in the near future (five days, fourteen hours, and eleven minutes to be exact) so that is exactly how we spent our last weekend before the Rae take over.

Step #1, book hotel. Step #2, pack bag. Step #3, get in car. Step #4, coffee. Step #5, move step #4 to step #1. Coffee is life.

Windows down, country music blaring, sun shining. Saturday was a perfect day for a mini road trip down I90 West!

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A little bit of a rainy start to the day on I90!

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First stop, Rochester Public Market. Because… who doesn’t kick off their last wild weekend of freedom at a farmers market? We know how to party.

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We picked up some UNREAL peaches and other vegetables, hit up some free samples, tried a local coffee place. You know, typical things you do when you are 80 years or older.

After wandering around for a bit we stopped for lunch at Jines, one of our favorite diners in not just Rochester, NY, but… okay, I don’t want to be dramatic here but… the entire world. Jines. Um, photos below will explain reasoning for our obsession:

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I know what you’re thinking at this point. How did we keep on partying after such a crazy afternoon? Luckily we got a quick nap in at the hotel which brought a nice second wind just in time for us to go HAM at a local Mexican restaurant, Salena’s. Seriously, re-defining the term food baby. But it was worth it.

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These are STUFFED avocados!

These are STUFFED avocados!

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And no, we aren’t done eating yet. Just a quick break from the food to hit up the Western New York Flash soccer game to see Carli Lloyd score yet another goal. Oh and I’d just to like to say we deserve extra points for not spilling any salsa on our new USA soccer shirts. Side note: our seats were awesome.

Unfortunately Leroux was out for surgery so we didn't get to see her!

Unfortunately Leroux was out for surgery so we didn’t get to see her!

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Sahlen's stadium was gorgeous at night with perfect weather!

Sahlen’s stadium was gorgeous at night with perfect weather!

After the game, we realized that out of all of the fans standing against the railing for an autograph, we were the only ones over age 12. So we slowly back pedaled away and traded a potential meet and greet for dippin dots. There’s really no loser here…

We know what you’re thinking. This trip sounds a lot like your college spring break. We promise to tone it down when we become dog parents next weekend.

The rest of the night was spent just chillin in the hot tub back at the hotel. Don’t worry we had plenty of snacks.

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The next morning we took off pretty early. Once we got home we had some last minute house stuff to do for baby Rae! We put up a small fence in our back yard so she can have some extra space outside. We live right by a dog park which we’ll be visiting frequently, but having the option for her to roam around the backyard is a nice option too. Especially for potty training!

Fence building essentials!

Fence building essentials!

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We finally got to make a quick stop at Petmart and Marshall’s to get a couple last minute things. We did pick up the Petmart Puppy Starter Kit with a bunch of coupons for you and your pup! We definitely recommend checking it out. Also, we got another larger bed for Rae! We hope you don’t mind the selfies!

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Moral of our story is getting a puppy comes with more than just the price tag you pay up front. You are giving up a lot of freedom in exchange for something so great! And if you ask us, it is worth it every time. Well, ask us later because currently we’re still thinking about stuffed avocados from that Mexican place.

Oh and just would like subtly add……. WE CANNOT WAIT!!!! #onemoreweek

Brittney, Cara and Soon to be Raegan

What did you say goodbye to when you became a dog parents? What are some new dog friendly hobbies we can add into our lives?

 

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10 obvious signs you’re getting a puppy

You steer all conversations back to your soon to be puppy.

Say you’re hosting a BBQ with friends and strike up convo: “Are you hungry? We can grill up some hot dogs… yea uh… speaking of dogs, did I tell you we’re getting a puppy?” “Uh, only 37 times.”

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You smile aggressively at other dog owners.

You are walking through downtown and see someone walking their dog. Instead of offering a half smile, you stare way too long in their direction. You may even throw in a few verbal gestures like “awww!” or “so cute!” In some cases, you may even squat down to pet the little fur ball at eye level. So now not only have you creeped out the dog owner but you probably also made him late. Just add in a little heavy breathing and consider yourself restraining ordered.

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You show everyone and anyone pictures of your soon to be dog.

OMG! Look at her cute little paw here. Do you see it? Yeah, so what if I took this photo through the window of our breeder’s home? Who cares? It’s still cute. Oh, and look and what she’s doing here. She’s SLEEPING! Oh my god who sleeps like that? Only my dog because she is the cutest thing ever…

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You watch puppy videos whenever you get the chance.

Lets be honest. My most recent google searches are: cute puppies, fluffy cute puppies, puppy run, puppy cute, puppy lay, puppy with baby. I’m not proud. But if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t either.

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You dream about “pulling a Megan from Bridemaids” and just taking all the puppies when you finally pick up your pup.

If you don’t describe this scene as “dream” then you are a liar. We are renting a 15-person passenger van for puppy pick up day just in case.

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You research anything and everything to prepare for the big day.

Seriously, if there’s an exam I think I’d ace it. A few months ago though? Probably not. We’ve researched everything from puppy treats to puppy hotels (by the way there are actual hotels solely for dogs). Oh and now that I think about it. I guess there is a test at the end of this. It’s called ACTUALLY RAISING A DOG.

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You go to Petsmart once a week… ok fine everyday.

It’s always super awkward when you walk in and the workers ask what kind of dog you have. When you immediately say “oh I don’t have one” they just classify you as a creep and are long gone before you can explain that you ARE getting one. I think our faces are on a poster in their break room.

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You check out the neighborhood dog scene.

Do you find yourself going for walks much more often now? Because in a few weeks you’ll know walks will become a part of your daily routine? Might as well get to know the neighborhood ahead of time. But take it from us, don’t hit up the dog park without a dog… its never a good look… I mean, so we hear…

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You spend your entire paycheck on dog toys.

Okay she is DEFINITELY going to need another one of these. You know what? Might as well get two to be safe. And she doesn’t have enough chew toys. There needs to be the perfect balance of plush, rubber, chew, balls, etc. You know variety is the spice of life and Reagan will hold her new parents to these standards! Anyone else? Anyone…

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You create a dog blog.

When people see you in the grocery store and duck behind a display of corn you are probably doing more than one of these things. We don’t care. We will talk your ear off about baby Rae without any apologies. And when we’ve exhausted all Youtube videos, sabotaged all friendships with doggy details, been put on a list at Petsmart, and need to get a part time job to support our new fur ball, you may find yourself here: blogging about your girl to a whole new pool of victims.

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Do these ring a bell for you? What crazy things did you do when preparing for your puppy?

Our Top 5 Puppy Foods (So far…)

Becoming a dog mom brings along a lot of decision making. There is a lot of pressure in taking care of another living thing. But since we’ve been successfully feeding and bathing ourselves for like four years now we’re feeling pretty confident in our abilities.

We know that there are going to be a lot of decisions to make for our little Rae. So choosing the right dog food is just the first of many. The past few weeks we’ve been busy researching which food is the best based on nutritional value, price, and specific health concerns for our breed. We’ve narrowed our list down to a few brands to choose from. We haven’t made any decisions yet but are pretty happy with the list we’ve come up with.

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry

Pros:

  • Grain free, high protein
  • Healthy carbs with sweet potatoes and potateoes
  • Specified as great for large breed puppies
  • Reviews as supporting growth and development well

Cons:

  • Many reviews on being too rich
  • Reviews touched on loose stools
  • Reported cases of vomiting and diarrhea
  • Reports of bad gas/bad smelling stools
  • Check out this Consumer Affairs forum about Blue Buffalo

Where to buy?

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Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food

Pros:

  • On many top lists for Large Breed Dogs
    • Specially formulated for large breed puppies during the first year of life
  • High protein
    • Deboned chicken, whitefish
  • High amounts of DHA for brain and eye development
  • Controlled growth rate

Cons:

  • Not grain-free
  • Through our research we have noticed how grain-free is supposed to be better, especially for large breed dogs for a higher protein, low-carb diet. However, this food contains flaxseed, which after further research can be very beneficial for dogs as it nourishes their coat and keeps their skin clean.
  • Similar with Blue Buffalo there are negative reviews that all report problems with loose stools

Where to buy?

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Merrick BackCountry Raw Infused

Pros:

  • All natural, grain free, high protein
  • Omega fatty acid rich formula which helps the skin and coat
  • Many reviews that many dogs enjoy taste
  • The high-protein kibble starts with real deboned meat, poultry or fish and is gluten-free.
  • Made in USA
  • Kibble size small
  • Recommended from trusted fellow blogger Emmadog on My GBGV Life
    • Sidenote: She also told us about Chewy.com, which we’ve had a great experience with so far!

Cons:

  • Freezed dried nuggets don’t make this a raw food diet via Keep the Tail Wagging
  • New brand of Merrick so the reviews are limited

Where to buy?

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Holistic Select Grain Green

Pros:

  • All natural, grain free, high-protein
  • Digesti ve health support system
    • probiotics, natural fiber and digestive enzymes
  • On many top lists for Large Breed Dogs
  • If unsatisfied, you can get a full refund
  • Employs quality standards that exceed government regulations

Cons:

  • Mixed reviews when it comes to taste and dogs wanting to eat it

Where to buy?

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TLC

Pros:

  • Suggested by our breeder. Our puppy is currently eating this so keeping her on the same food would be one less change she’d have to adapt to
  • Formulated for all life stages whether puppy or adult
  • Helps maintain healthy joints which is of heavy concern when talking golden retriever
  • Easy online ordering and delivery system right to your door with free shipping

Cons:

  • Price exceeds what we planned to spend ($69/ 30lb bag)
  • Ingredients are not human grade or antibiotic free

Where to buy?

We’ve heard talk of the raw food diet here on the wild, wild internet but it doesn’t exactly fit our life style at the moment. Hopefully one of the options we’ve researched and included today will work for baby Rae instead. If there is a brand we missed and you think it is worth checking out we’d love to hear from you. We’re definitely not experts (as stated in every blog post thus far) so we welcome the suggestions, feedback, red flags, blue flags, white flags, go USA, FOCUS!!! Okay sorry… But you get it. If we missed a major pro or con on any of those top contenders, we’d also love to hear that.

The time is ticking- two weeks, two days, eleven hours, forty minutes, nine seconds- until the golden retriever stork drops a fluffy package on our door step. So please share your suggestions or words of wisdom with us! We’ll let you guys know what we end up selecting soon! If you’d like to see what other things we’ve gotten for baby Rae check out our New Puppy Essentials Checklist!

Brittney, Cara and Soon To Be Raegan (who is going to be hungry, so help us choose!)

We want to hear from you! What dog food did you give your puppy? What food would you recommend for a large breed pup?

Quick update: And then there’s TWO!

#64 on the bucket list: Lay on my back in a grass field while fluffy puppies trample all over me… CHECK!

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It is officially OFFICIAL! Reagan is ours. Last night we went out to the breeder’s home for another visit. This was the final trip before take home day!! Woo! Our first trip, the pups were very small as they were only 3 weeks old. We had an idea of which one we’d get but the breeder suggested coming back to confirm when they were bigger. And that we did! Reagan will be with us on August 1st. But the good news doesn’t stop there.

“With the 2nd pick in the NBA draft, the crazy dog family of this blog ALSO selects…”

Finnegan!

*Camera focuses in on small puppy, he trots towards the center of stage, places flat brim hat on head, shakes hand with new owner*

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Rae with Cara on left and Finn with Britt on the right!

But no seriously. Reagan’s brother, Finn, was picked out by one of our sisters and will be joining our big extended family. Woohoo for not only being new parents but aunts too! Finn is super cute and his PFF (potential fluff factor) is off the charts. He will be living about 20 minutes away from our house. That means lots of puppy play dates! And now Rae has her big brother around to protect her from bullies. Or maybe vice versa? Time will tell.

Shannon (Cara's sister) realizing Finn is THE one

Shannon (Cara’s sister) realizing Finn is THE one

Reagan and Finn officially became ours when the breeder clipped a small section of their fur in a designated area to mark them. And then with a celebratory Lion King lift, it was official.Things are very real for us. And now all that’s left to do is wait…

…and decide on a dog food, puppy proof the house, puppy proof the yard, decide on a vet, quit my job, become the dog whisperer,  land my own TV show, make millions, am I still typing?

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Here are some pictures from last night’s visit. They have grown so much in the week and half its been since meeting them!

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New Puppy Essentials: What’s on your checklist?

Preparing Your Home

So, for the past several months we’ve been talking about getting a dog to anyone that will listen. If we hadn’t, people would walk into our apartment and think we had some seriously strange hobbies. Which, we do. But anyways, one step into our place and it is pretty much a puppy haven with mountains of toys and treats but no dog to show for.

Yet.

I guess you could say we are prepared? The real defining word is “excited” but for the sake of wanting to sound mature, we’ll go with “prepared” instead.

 For us, we started preparing our home way ahead of time. Being first time dog owners, the list of things we needed was long. We also didn’t want to wait until the last minute and become overwhelmed with an influx of expenses all at once. Am I sounding mature yet?

The Basics

We started with the bigger items that we knew we’d absolutely need. These items were a crate, leash and collar, dog bed, and water and food station. Lucky for us, a family member had a spare crate so this was a quick check mark on our list. We are not experts (yet) but crate training without a crate could be tricky.

The next items we purchased were a leash and collar. We know the pup will be growing at rapid speeds so a simple collar will do at first. You can find small collars for just a couple bucks at any major pet supply store. If you really want to jazz it up and spend a few extra bucks on a stylish piece, check out Target. For us, we kept it pretty simple since she’ll be morphing into a giant fluffster in just a few months. Once she is full grown we will splurge on a fancy stylish collar. Girl has to be lookin fly, always. *snap**snap* *snap* *CANTSTOPSNAPPING*tumblr_mepxw22mGA1razdf7

Next we purchased a puppy bed to keep inside of her crate. Your pup will either love or hate their bed. Some refuse to sleep on them where others absolutely love it. Start off with a simple one until you get to know your dog. Also like the collar, your pup will grow out of this quickly. My main concern is providing comfort for the pup when she comes home and its my hope that having her own little bed will help ensure that. These also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices. You’ll have to get to know your pup first through trial and error.

Finally we purchased the water and food bowls. For now, we kept it basic with bowls that lie on the floor. These are pretty easy to travel with as well. Once she’s bigger we will splurge and get the raised dishes.

The Extras

Toys, toys, toys! Don’t get me wrong. This entire process has been exciting. But going into the store and picking out toys for your future pup to play with is just straight up fun. Now I know how grandmothers feel. It’s important to get a wide variety of toys for your pup to play with. She’ll want to tug, pull, chew, chase, pounce, etc. And if she has her own stuff to chew, maybe she won’t want to chew any of your stuff. (Fast forward to five months from now when I am blogging about how my pup just ate my favorite pair of Toms)

This is just some of her goodies!

This is just some of her goodies!

We have also been focused on toys that will stimulate her brain. A lot of the Kong products seem great for just this. So far we have a Kong ball where you can hide treats and a Kong bone that will challenge her in the same. Petsmart has everything you can imagine but if you are trying to save a couple bucks, check to see if there are any smaller pet supply stores in your area. Chances are their prices are lower. We just found one in our area and the prices are significantly cheaper. They also have a rewards program with nice perks such as $ off on your pet’s birthday and monthly coupons on products you’ll need.

So when it comes to stuff to play with, we have tried to have a lot of variety. Make sure you have plush toys a long with chew toys and things that will keep her mind moving.

Health

Puppy shampoo, tooth brush, eye wipes, furminator and nail clippers. A lot of things are specific to puppy or adult so when you set out to the store, be sure you are buying for the correct age range. This is something we just recently became mindful of (hopefully adult dog shampoo doesn’t expire…) It is important to have first aid supplies ahead of time as well. Like most things, you never know. It’s better to be prepared.

For You

We know that our new puppy will be an adjustment for not only her but for us too. It is our job to set her up for success. Whether that means preparing our home or being well educated on all things puppy, we are taking those steps. Aside from that, we also know what presses our buttons so we are proactively putting fixes in place to help avoid frustrations. Simple things like a car hammock to cover your seats when you take your pup out for a ride. The small attachment of doggie bags you can clip right onto your dog’s leash is another quick little cheat to make your life a bit easier. Stain remover, floor cleaner, and a pet hair specific vacuum are also things we purchased to help us stay on top of things. These items are specific to things us though. Find yours and take the proactive approach!

Okay, that’s a lot of stuff, right? The easiest way to organize your list is with a simple puppy check list! Check off the boxes as you go… The more boxes you cross off, the more prepared you are and the closer you are to becoming a puppy parent.

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Just keep in mind that this post focuses on only half of the preparation. We have only discussed things we needed and did not yet have. Next post we’ll talk about how we are preparing our home with things we already have for our future fur baby. Puppy proofing at its finest!

Thanks for following along on our journey. We’re already having too much fun!

Brittney, Cara and Soon to be Reagan

Goldens on Goldens on Goldens

Hold on. Before we start, let me paint the picture for you…

Winding country roads, lost cell phone signal, sun shining down onto the corn fields on all sides, the windows rolled down or else the anticipation would break the glass itself. After an hour of just that, we finally arrived at the dog breeder’s home.

When we stepped out of the car, we were greeted by TEN adult dogs freely roaming the 3 acres of beautiful country land. The dogs were a mix of colors, shapes, sizes but one thing they all shared was the calm, loving temperament that is expected in the golden retriever breed.

We were not disappointed.


Meeting the parents

The dog breeder did a great job at providing all the information we needed and answered every question without us even having to ask. We did have to stop (and physically pick ourselves up off the ground and pause from rolling around in the grass with the dogs) and remember why were here. Puppy! But before we saw the litter, we had to stop and meet the adorable parents.

Cue beautiful golden girl with light fur running across the grass in slow mo, tongue flopping from side to side. Okay, maybe I was the one running like that but details don’t matter…

Paws, the one literally on my lap, was ‘the jealous one’ of the group

We obviously had our favorites from the pack of goldens that greeted us. Lucky for us, the favorites happened to be the parents of the litter we’re getting.

Nala (calm, light coloring, proud mommy) and Paws (fluffy box head, wants your attention, NEEDS your attention.)

Paws again guarding the door

Nala couldn’t wait to lead us into the kennel to show off her new creation. Paws guarded the door and required we pet him before entering, which we were happy to do.


How do you choose your puppy?

So. This is the hard part I suppose.

Inside the kennel were seven puppies; five boys, two girls. At three and half weeks, they were super tiny as expected. Originally we thought we’d be picking out our future puppy but the breeder told us it would be hard to connect at such a young age when they weren’t fully developed just yet. That didn’t stop us from having to hold every single one! And now we know what we’re up against when we come back out in a week and a half to pick.

We expressed our concern of not being able to pick a puppy because its just so hard. The breeder told us that’s okay because we WON’T be picking her.

She’ll be picking us.Once she said those words, my entire perspective changed. I was able to focus less on “which one is right for me” and more on “which one am I right for?” It is like a being on a dating website except nothing similar about the two things at all.


Choosing your breeder

Choosing your puppy really is the last step in a long process before it becomes real. But before choosing your puppy, you have to choose your breeder. And that takes research and time.

There are the obvious places you will want to avoid like puppy mills or pet stores. But like everything in life, for the bad there is also the good. And we believe we’ve stumbled upon one of the good.

The dog breeder we have selected is in this business for all the right reasons. For the last 30 years, she has been breeding golden retrievers and helping families become whole. One thing she said to us is that this dog will be your future children’s dogs. With that being said, it is important to remember that getting a dog is a commitment. If you want a dog, want one for a year at least before making the decision to get one. And do your research.

We were able to see the blood line of dogs (mom, dad, grandparents) right there on the farm. The dogs live a happy, healthy life with lots of love and lots of furry friends to play with.

At the end of the day, this didn’t feel like we were setting out to go pick up a new toy. It felt like we were meeting the newest member of our family.

Baby Rae

Okay so apparently “getting a puppy” does not qualify you for maternity leave. Note to self. Also noting things are mildly awkward between me and my boss now.

Anyways! Today we received the news that our future pup was born on June 9th! Five boys, two girls and mom is doing great. No we are not getting all seven (I wish) so one will do for now. We thought it would be cool to start our blog post today as we sit in anticipation and excitement of what’s to come. Puppy Reagan Rae is on her way to us in just a few weeks. Come on August 4th! Disclaimer: Name is subject to change at any given moment with no advance notice or warning.

We are excited “dog parents to be” and determined to do things right. Meaning we will explore every avenue and possibility of giving this little fluffster the best life she can have! Our list of things we need is long, our excitement is boiling over, and the nerves are… there. There is a lot to learn but with two of us we are up for the task. Except for choosing the right dog food. We’ve undergone some serious dog food taste testing and personally, none of them agree with my pallet. The treats aren’t so bad though…

Being on a waiting list for over a year has given us enough time to prepare and confirm this is the right choice for us. We are also going through one of the most well respected dog breeders in Upstate New York. On July 14th we will be heading up North to officially meet our little cutie! From there it is just two more weeks until we get to bring her home… See you soon Reagan!