Wellness

How Rescuing a Dog Changed our Lives

I am a dog person through and through. From an early age, if there was a dog present, I would be on the floor giving back scratches and kisses within seconds. My first dog Frankie is a Boston terrier that I found in the classifieds in the San Jose Mercury news. She was in a “mistake” litter of two puppies, so I raised her from 10 weeks old and she has never known anything but love. She is a little bit spoiled if I do say so myself 😉

My husband Roger and I always knew we wanted to get a big dog once we bought a house and had enough space. We bought our home in November 2013 and in May of that year, we started looking online for a rescue Rottweiler. We researched their temperaments, and they are sweet and loving family dogs, but also protective which is great for when I am walking on my own. We found our pup Murphy through GEPDA animal rescue out of San Martin, CA. They are a donation based rescue on a farm that believes:

“Fight Cruelty and Violence Against Animals”

The primary objectives of this organization shall be to
foster respect and compassion for all animals; to alleviate pain and suffering for abused,abandoned animals; and to raise public awareness to the need for spay/neuter programs, micro chipping and humane education in the United States and abroad.

We fell in love with Murphy’s picture and description, and emailed them to inquire. Katy promptly emailed us back within 30 minutes, and we set up a day the next week to meet him.

The following Thursday, we drove to San Martin to meet our potential new family member. We met Katy and Maryann, two wonderful ladies who love animals so much that Maryann has set up rescue kennels on her farm, and houses up to 20 dogs at a time at her home. It is donation and volunteer driven, so Maryann and Katy do this out of love. They brought out Murph and he was comfortable with Katy and Maryann, but because we were strangers, he was painfully shy. Katy went on to tell us that Murphy had been starved, beaten, and abused from birth, and probably used as a bait dog in dog fights. Instead of becoming aggressive like many dogs, Murphy went the opposite way and became painfully shy and scared. Maryann saw him on death row in a kill shelter that labeled him “unadoptable” because of his shyness. Maryann said no way, took him in and worked to get him out of his shell. We are so thankful she did. He was shy at first, but warmed up and we decided to adopt him.

When we brought him home, we soon realized that once he felt our love for him, he did not want to let it go, cue “separation anxiety”. We tried to crate train him but he was so against crates, that he broke out of three different kinds. We then decided to “dog proof” the downstairs area when we left the house. This means, no breakable things, (Murph is a bull in a china shop) closing bathroom doors (he likes to splash in the toilets) and closing bedroom doors. This led to the tearing down of the front blinds and scratching the paint off the front door, but we knew that once some time had passed, and he knew this was his forever home, he would calm down.

And we were right! It has been a year and a half that Murphy has been in our lives, and with daily hikes and consistency, he has become the most loyal, loving and appreciative dog that I have ever had. The fact that he went through so much and was so starved of love and basic care for the first year of his life, he returns that love ten fold. Roger was saying last night that every evening when he comes home from work, it is the best part of his day to be met at the door by Murphy’s unconditional and pure happiness to see him. Murphy has truly become a light in our lives, and all of the ups and downs in the first year are worth adding this affection, fun, laughter and snuggle time into our family. There is a bit of sibling rivalry, but I can tell Frankie loves him too.

The moral of this story is, there are so many dogs out there in shelters and rescues, dogs that need you desperately, just like Murphy. Why pay a breeder hundreds of dollars when you can donate to a cause like GEPDA, that has a strict rule for all dogs they adopt to be spayed or neutered to help fix the problem, not add to it. Adopting Murphy was one of the best decisions we have ever made, and we will always rescue.

Here are some of our favorite memories with our pups since Murph’s adoption:

 

 

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Whole 30 Recap

Over the month of October, my god-sister and I decided to try the Whole 30 Challenge to jumpstart our health and make a change in the way we eat, and look at food. It is not a crash diet, but a lifestyle in which you only eat whole and natural foods. Meals consist of a preferably organic source of protein like chicken, steak, eggs, a large serving of fruit and veggies, and healthy fats. On the plan you cut out dairy other than eggs, sugar, legumes, starches, grains and alcohol.

A day in my life on Whole 30:

Breakfast:

Aidells chicken apple sausage scramble with grapefruit

Coffee with cashew milk

Lunch:

Steak or chicken salad with kale, tomato and avocado

Snack:

Apple and almonds

Dinner:

Cod Cioppino (leave the baguette out)

After one week, as long as I loaded up on protein I was feeling great. My head felt clearer, my body felt lighter and my clothes fit a tiny bit looser because any water bloat that I did have was gone. You cannot weigh yourself, but as the weeks went on I noticed my clothes fitting looser and my Pilates muscle definition showing through 🙂

In the middle of the month, I did get a little bit hormonal and hungry, so I had to add more protein, and if I really wanted something sweet, bananas with no added sugar cashew butter did the trick.

I did have one moment of weakness on Sunday the 25th and had some pizza and wine for dinner, but I am not going to beat myself up about it, I got right back on track and finished strong. I did feel a small difference in how I felt after eating that pizza when I woke up the next morning.

The hardest part of sticking to this is definitely in social situations, like when your mom makes a huge bowl of pasta with homemade Barefoot Contessa sauce and you cannot have any. So in these instances I would grab a healthy snack, and make sure a form of protein/veggie was available to me.

Now that I finished this phase, the way I eat has completely changed. I feel so much more productive and healthy!  I really do enjoy preparing my meals, and cooking healthy meals with Roger for dinner brings us closer together. I took a before and after photo, and my muscles are much more defined, and I went down a pant size. It was not easy, hence my pizza breakdown, but it really has made me re-think what I am putting into my body and how it affects me. Going into the future, I will allow myself to have a day each week that is not so strict, and I can have my cheese and wine in moderation!

here are some pics of our yummy meals this month:

Aidells chicken apple sausage scramble with grapefruit

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salmon steak with lemon and arugula, avocado and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar

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taragon and cumin crusted chicken with zucchini and carmelized lemon

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cod ciopinno

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steak with purple potatoes and sauteed garlic spinach

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summer peaches with banana dessert

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