Merlin!

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We are getting a dog! Merlin will be coming to our home this Sunday, which just happens to be my birthday. Last night, I was at dinner with a good friend, talking about Merlin…and she said “you sound scared”. Truth be told, I am scared. A combination of anxiety and excitement. A LONG time ago, right after we got married and before Xander came along, we had a dog named Frankie. All you need to know is that Frankie was INSANE! On the bright side, we found Frankie a fantastic home with a couple that had no kids and liked crazy dogs. OK. Merlin. I am a bit scared and anxious that having a dog will automatically turn into a hellish situation with poop, pee and puke everywhere. Ahh! I mean, sometimes I actually forget that things are so different now! We have two kids, I am home all the time, NOT working full time like I was when we had Frankie. The more I admit I am a bit scared, the more it fades.

Now for the excitement! Finding Merlin really feels like a blessing. Through one of my crafty shows, I learned about G.R.A.S.P. (Greece Residents Assisting Stray Pets) http://www.graspinc.org/. I found Merlin on their site. Here is Merlin’s link, but I don’t know how long it will stay active http://www.graspinc.org/adoptions/available-dogs.html?id=36&dogid=25755841&shelterid=NY23. Oh, I should probably state that Merlin was formerly spelled Merlyn. With all do respect to his previous owner, I just like Merlin better. I most definitely did not want a puppy this time around. Of course I was thinking getting a dog that was already housetrained and new commands would be impossible. Good with kids and good with cats were two VERY important factors. I filled out the online app, and then heard back from an agency volunteer. I learned that Merlin was not a stray that had been rescued. His owner became unable to care for him. There’s more…he was trained as a rescue dog! Yeah, I don’t actually know what that means, but doesn’t it sound cool!? He came to our house this past weekend along with the GRASP volunteer. We saw that Merlin is definitely a German Shepherd mix, and he is a BIG boy! Get this…I said “sit” and he sat! Amazing. He was very good with Xander and Abby, he saw the cats, wagged his tail and then walked away from them. Ok, all good! Mark and I talked it over, we really considered every darn angle.

Once we decided Merlin was a go, my wheels really started churning. I had a new obsession! Or as Mark has since coined it, my nesting instinct kicked in…time to plan for our new baby. First step, Merlin is a long time eater of Purina Pro Plan, Shredded Lamb and Rice. Mark has an Amazon Prime membership, so I started looking on there. I saw a listing that said a 35lb bag of food was $53! Instantly I started freaking out thinking, oh no, I’ve done it again…pushed to get a dog and now we will go broke feeding it. Turns out I was looking at a grain free version of Pro Plan. Ok. Next, I turned to Country Max. I am pretty sure it’s a store exclusive to the Rochester area, but to my NYC friends, if you are ever in need of farm supplies, check it out! http://www.countrymax.com/. I found Merlin’s food at Country Max for $36.99, same 35lb bag. I am always leery when I see things listed for sale online, ya never know if the particular item will be available in store. So, I called…it’s a regular item…phew.

Next stop, flea and tickville. I started by calling our current vet to see what they had there. They recommended Activyl for doggie flea and tick prevention. Guess how much the 6 month supply would have been? $110! RE-DONK-U-LOUS. No doubt, it’s a great product…but, there had to be something more cost effective. I decided I was going to compare some of the other brands I had heard of: K9 Advantix II and Frontline Plus. I ran into some new brands too, I really looked into everything.  Just google the brands you are considering, and you can even find comparison charts out there. I decided on Bio Spot Defense because of how much it prevents and because of the cost. Here is a link for the manufacturer’s page http://www.biospot.com/product-types/flea-control-for-dogs/. just so happens that Bio Spot was available at Country Max! Yeah! $36.99 for a 6 month supply, not too bad. I have been advised that you really should give flea & tick prevention to your dog during the warmer months…when the ground is frozen, it’s not as important. Oh! Tidbit here. Our vet said we DO NOT have to give f & t prevention meds to the only indoor cats. Yeah!

All my f & t reading brought to light that you also need to give your dog a heartworm prevention med…all year long actually. Well, there are some meds for animals that are all inclusive (flea, tick and heartworm prevention). I guess those meds are newer, less available…meaning more expensive for now. Back to heartworm. I googled some of the brands I knew of. I was extremely surprised to see that heartworm prevention brands like Sentinel and Heartguard were just as expensive as some of the better known flea & tick meds! Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying a dog should have the best of the best…but are the more expensive products really better? I stumbled across an article about Nuheart, the generic version of Heartguard. Even doggies have generics! http://www.nuheart.com/. It seems that Nuheart is very popular in Australia. I did not see Nuheart as being available for purchase at stores in our neck of the woods. Online however, I found a great deal http://www.vetmedsforpets.com/catalog/heart-wormers-nuheart-c-510_536.html. $21 for a 6 month supply.

Most of the other things I wanted to get for Merlin were not that adventurous. I think my food container idea was pretty darn cool! I must say one more time, I am not cheap, I am concerned about finding deals 🙂 I bought a five gallon paint bucket from Lowe’s with a nice sturdy air tight lid. Voila! I now have a nice big food container for under $5!

Now I have to add the crafty part of my Merlin prep. The dog bed. I wanted to make one for him. Turns out that foam by the yard at Joann’s is made of gold. I had the spare king size sheet at home already, so I thought “why not make the filling for the dog bed from cut up clothes!” I have probably three big bags of outgrown/old clothes in the garage. I started cutting stuff up, and very quickly realized that to make enough stuffing for a dog bed, I would be cutting up clothes for about hmm….a year. I went for a casual and easy solution…the stuffing will be blankets. We also have a plethora of blankets at home. As the weather gets warmer, we’ll even be able to stuff in the king size comforters! For the outside of the dog bed, I used the spare king size sheet. I folded the sheet in half and sewed up one of the now shorter ends. I pulled up the sewed end, to about the middle of my folded over king size sheet. I stared at it trying to get an idea of what size I wanted to make the giant pillow case. This is all making perfect sense in my head, but maybe I should just share the website that gave me this idea: http://www.joyfulabode.com/2010/06/06/how-to-make-a-dog-bed-step-by-step-with-photos/. The tutorial is great! I glanced at it for the pillow case idea. I knew that using actual pillows for the inside would not work for Merlin because he is HUGE! Gotta go now. We have been outside playing this whole time. It’s nice out! But, my fingers are cold man!

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About Antonia Blakeney

I live in Rochester NY with my husband, two kids, two cats and a soon to be here dog. I am a stay at home Mom. My daughter Abby will be 3 in a few days and my son Alexander is 6. I have been living in Rochester NY since 2002. Prior to that, I went to SUNY Binghamton...that's where I met my husband! Prior to that, I lived and grew up in NYC. I started in Kindergarten at the Dalton School and then in 7th grade switched to the Nightingale Bamford School. I graduated from NBS in 1998. That is the BRIEF about me story...stay tuned for what I can imagine will be about five million versions of the about me story.
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2 Responses to Merlin!

  1. Antonia, you are AMAZING. Not everybody would be willing to take on an older, black, large dog — but you did (and I’m not prejudice against older, black, large dogs, but statistically they are the least likely to be adopted at shelters).

    The love of my life is a big, elderly black shepherd named Wolf, who spent five years in a shelter before becoming our second dog (with Charlie). I’d heard about him, and knew I was going to bring him home, but when we were finally introduced, I thought about this ugly dog: “What have I gotten into?”

    Well, obviously, you don’t think that for long. I love this old guy tremendously and any dog who’s trained in rescue is going to be phenomenally responsive and well-trained.

    So, congratulations. This is awesome.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! You have put me even more at ease 🙂 When Merlin came to visit us, I was really amazed at how well he was behaved. You kind of don’t notice how big he is. He never barked, he never jumped. I just clicked to follow you! I am so new to WordPress, but already very happy. My hope is to write something everyday…Merlin is bound to be a subject again!

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