Category Archives: Pets

I Adopted a Stolen Dog. Seriously.

I’m sitting here, on April 4th, and it’s snowing. I’d just like to document that. Other winters, that wouldn’t a big deal, but when winter decides to show up in April, I’m taking note. As are the local farmers, who aren’t thrilled.

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A few weeks back I mentioned I had a doozy of a story about Otis – here it is!

Meet Otis

I was having my Red Letter Day because Carmel has posted my kitchen to her blog, buuuut TimTheFarmer wasn’t responding to my excited texts. What the heck?! Then, I got a call from my FIL who was helping out at the farm and said, “Katie, I’m here at the farm and we’ve got a bit of a situation.” I braced myself for the news that TimTheFarmer was hurt or that there’d been a confrontation with a poacher. You worry about poachers too, right? It turned out to be far crazier than I ever could have imagined.

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Bob went on to tell me that Otis had run away and they’d spent the last couple hours looking for him. Someone on the street stopped them and told them that a policeman had been called to pick up a wandering dog. Unfortunately Otis didn’t have his name tag on (we’d ordered it, but it didn’t fit on his collar). Tim called the local police who had Otis who asked where he was – the policeman would come to him. 

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When he pulled up, Otis wasn’t with him. TimTheFarmer figured he was in for an off-leash violation. The cop started questioning Tim about where he got the dog. He explained that I’d found him at a NYC adoption event and he’d gone down to Petco in Brooklyn the next weekend to pick him up as an early Christmas present for the kiddo. As Tim told the story, the cop looked more and more confused. He then explained that Otis’ microchip says he’s a stolen dog from Queens, whose name is Christopher (the name we adopted him under). Ummmm…come again??!

The cop went on to explain that he’d called the owner and that her reaction wasn’t the overjoyed relief he expected, but that she would come up and get him this weekend. He thought the whole thing seemed a bit odd and suggested we call her to try to sort this out. 

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This is where I come in. Bob called me and recounted this whole story. I was livid and scared and really, really confused. After last year, which wasn’t the easiest, the last thing we needed was to lose a dog who had immediately become family, who slept with the kiddo every night, and who spent days exploring the farm with TimTheFarmer. How on Earth did this happen?! Bob said that he thought we had a chance of keeping him and that I should call her immediately to see what I could do. In my head he said, “Do your Katie magic,” but that totally could have only been in my head. When I asked him where Otis was and if we could at least keep him until Saturday, he said something I’ll never forget: “Katie, as of right now, Otis is no longer your dog. You have no right to him.” My heart broke for our family, and for Otis, who was back in a shelter.

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I set out on a mission to get him back and to get answers. Despite the agency being a friend’s agency, I had every intention of getting the press on this national agency who was dealing in stolen dogs and figured I would be on The Today Show before the end of the week. I’d be interviewed by Natalie, because she’s a mom and just enough of a hard-ass to tell this story and get our dog back. Yes, that’s how my brain works.

But before I issued my press release, I had to get my dog back. I called the owner who didn’t answer and while I was waiting for her call, I sent an ALL CAPS EMAIL to the agency saying they’d given me a stolen dog who’d been confiscated by the police and that they’d better call me NOW. I then called our vet to figure out why when they scanned the chip, this didn’t come up – they kindly explained to be that their scanner just confirms there’s a chip, it doesn’t read it – and they wished me luck. 

IMG_4284As I hung up, the owner called me back and I tried to calm my nerves and anger as I spoke to her and not be a total lunatic who was asking to keep her dog. We spoke for a while and it ended up being quite a sad conversation. As her story goes, her boyfriend gave Otis to her as a puppy and she had him for a year. Then, last November when they were fighting, he dropped him off at the pound to get back at her. At some point, someone called the microchip company and said he’d been stolen. She was very nervous and seemed sweet and said she just wanted the best for Christopher (Otis to us). She said it seemed like he had a good, loving home with lots of room to run and that we could keep him if we wanted. She later texted to say that Christopher had been through a lot and had been a strong positive influence for her and she hoped he could be for the kiddo as well. The whole thing just ended up being really sad and heartbreaking. For the woman, who loved and lost a puppy (and clearly had a nasty boyfriend) and for Otis, who’d been yanked out of his home and into a scary shelter and then who’d found a home and been thrown back in a shelter. Not cool. Any of it. 

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After I thanked her profusely, the next steps were to get ahold of the adoption agency and have a “What the hell?!” conversation and speak with the police to get Otis back. The agency was first and before I could lay into them, they told me their lawyers and entire team had been activated and they had the story for me. They explained that according to the shelter’s records, he was an “owner surrender” and the shelter had full rights to him (to pass on to an agency). I then told her about my conversation with owner which aligned with this and she explained that the shelter is responsible for the intake and scanning the chip and at the time, when they scanned the chip, it came back clean. She agreed that this case illustrates the need for the chip to continued to be scanned and said they’d reevaluate their intake process the next week. My initial reaction had been to be highly unimpressed with the agency for giving us a stolen dog, but they mobilized their entire staff and legal team within minutes of my email to come to our defense and was willing to go to bat for us to keep Otis. So, they are still the good guys in my book. 

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But….the story isn’t over. By this point, there were too many cooks in the kitchen and as I was talking to the cop, TimTheFarmer was talking to animal control. One was saying we couldn’t pickup Otis from the pound until we got him licensed (we live in a small town with a town hall that’s only open 4 hours per day, 3 days per week and it’d be two days before that could happen) and one was saying that we should go get him. BTW – licensed?? I’d never heard of such a thing. Neither have most of the people I’ve asked about it – glad I’m not the only law-breaking dog owner out there. Luckily TimTheFarmer mentioned that Otis needed his giardia meds – – we couldn’t get him out of the pound quick enough once animal control heard that …. “We had that once in our kennel, couldn’t get rid of it for months.” And just like that, Otis was home. 

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That my friends, was a doozy of an afternoon. At first I thought that maybe this comes with the territory of adopting dogs, but the vet and agency assured us they had NEVER heard of this before. Awesome. Only us. We seriously have more weird stories from our 5 years as a family than most collect in a lifetime. 

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The range of emotions I experienced in that three hour window was one for the books. Today, I’m sad for and grateful to Otis’ original owner, appreciative to the local policeman who quickly recognized my husband isn’t a dog thief and offered guidance on how to get Otis back, glad we had an adoption agency with the resources to help us fix this so quickly, momentarily thankful for giardia (not sure that has ever been said before), and 100% confident that Otis is where he’s supposed to be. 

With that, I’m going to go sew up the third dog bed he’s destroyed.

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And, I really hope Otis’ former owner dumped that jerk once and for all.



Easter Weekend Recap

Hi friends – I’m back! I had no intention of disappearing last week, but in typical Katie-fashion, I decided to take on a last minute project that took up all my blogging time. I had a friend coming into town and decided two Fridays ago, that I should use her visit as motivation to makeover the guest room/office. Which, shockingly, did not take one day, like I decided it would in my head. After working on it over the weekend, I was up at 5am and up until 11pm each night painting and painting and painting.  Anyway, it’s almost done, I had a great visit with my friend, and I’m back on the blog…until I take on another last minute project. I’ll do a room reveal when all the details are in place (when the second round of wall decals arrive and all the outlets are switched out etc.), so today is a recap of our fantastic holiday weekend!

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Oftentimes, things don’t feel like weekends around here. I travel for work a lot and TimTheFarmer has worked every.single.day since January. We were so grateful for a visit from a friend to refocus our energy and take a bit of a break from the running around. 

We started out the long weekend with a girls’ day on Friday. After wrapping up work meetings in the morning, we headed out for a long lunch in town, followed by pedicures, and a bit of shopping at local stores. I NEVER do this, so it was such a treat to spend a relaxing afternoon, sipping prosecco while we got foot massages and catching up on the last 6 months with a best friend. We ended the day on a high note, with more amazing burgers from Panzur. They are just so good. And, TimTheFarmer is developing a reputation as that guy who orders a burger with both pig belly AND bacon jam. #gobigorgohome

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On Saturday, the kiddo and I woke up early and snuck out of the house to go take care of the pigs at the farm, as a treat for TimTheFarmer so he could sleep past 6 AM one day in 3 months. Two things to note here: the kiddo did ALL the work with the pigs #idontdopigs and he did so good! And, TimTheFarmer totally knew we were up to something, but he still pretended to be asleep and let us do this for him. #thankshoney

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We decided to enjoy the beautiful day and go on a local hike I’d been hearing about. We had nothing (paleo) for lunch, so I quickly baked some almond flour rolls and we decided to have PB&Js at the top. Except, we all eat different kinds of nut butter and the rolls were still warm when we left the house, so we also packed up each of the nut butters (peanut, almond, and sun butters) into little containers as well as some homemade blueberry jam. I wish I had taken a picture of our nut butter sandwich bar on the top of the mountain – it was pretty ridiculous, but totally delicious!  I’d heard the hike up Stissing Mountain was a shortish, steep hike up to a fire tower, and they weren’t kidding about steep! Holy crow. We were huffing and puffing after the first 5 minutes. But, it was totally worth it! Once you climbed the rickety tower, you could see the entire Hudson Valley. 

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Otis, the hipster from Brooklyn, enjoyed his first journey up a mountain and Taz hung in there like the short-legged champ that he is. And, Otis alternated between rolling in the leaves and dirt, and keeping his tush clean by sitting on my legs #weirdo.

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That night we broke out the only store-bought eggs we buy each year and got busy dying eggs. We have a tradition in my family of decorating the eggs with crayons before we dye them. In addition to being cute, there’s a strategy here – after the egg hunt, we have an egg fight where you tap your eggs against each other. Often, the waxier the end, the better your chances are at winning fight.  

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We’d asked the kiddo, who is now 13, if he still wanted to do an egg hunt. He totally played it cool, like “Whatever…”, but he finally admitted he’d wanted to do the hunt, so the eggs were hidden. It’s way more fun to watch kids try to collect eggs than I ever would have thought, particularly when they walk right past the most obvious ones over and over (and over and over). It might have actually been worse this year with a sleepy teenager trying to find the obvious eggs.

Post egg hunt, we did some serious meal prep, which included making these ridiculously absurd (but tasty) deviled chicks. 

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My FIL joined us and we ate and had an egg fight and then ate some more. The kiddo made the “silver bullet” egg and it was the egg fight champion. It literally took down every other egg in the basket. 

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We also revisited my thoughts on how my life is a country song, when ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy’ come on Sonos. My friend and I agreed that men do, in fact, often look good on tractors and that that’s ok. Then, she made this statement, which is for sure a keeper.

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All in all, we had a weekend that felt more like a weekend than one has in a long time. I loved spending time with friends and family! I hope your Easter weekend was fabulous as well!



{Friday Favorites} All Things Spring

How on Earth is it Friday already? This week has flown by. I’ve been in and out of NYC 3 times the last 7 days, ugh! I’m not sure if it’s the travel, moving the clocks forward on Sunday, or the increase I made in my methylated B vitamins (which often kick me in the butt and are part of my never-ending health journey), but after proclaiming two weeks ago that I feel better than I’ve felt in years, this week has been a tough week as far as energy goes. Despite all that, I am LOVING the feeling of spring in these parts. Which apparently I should savor, because it’s supposed to snow Sunday. 

Chicks are in the House

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We added another six chicks last weekend, so we’ve got a fish tank full of chicks in our TV room. Like I said, my life is a country song. We didn’t get chicks last year because we hoped we’d be moving (which turned out to be a good plan – we had to send all our old chickens “to the farm” when we moved, so it would have been a bummer to have chickens that had just started laying, only to “send them to the farm.”) and I forgot how much I love chicks. I’m not really an animal person, so my affection for chicks surprised me, but really, who doesn’t love a cute little baby chick? They’re so fluffy and sleepy and sweet and are always falling asleep in their food. 

Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium Candles

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I love having candles burning and decided about a year ago, when we embarked on our detox, to cut out all the Yankee Candles that are laden with synthetic scents, petroleum wax, and plastic wicks. We’ve gone all natural, y’all, including our candles. I was excited to see that my favorite hand soap company, Mrs. Meyer’s makes candles and they made with essential oils, soy wax, and cotton wicks. I loved their holiday scents, but when Christmas was over, we had to put the pine scent away and I went searching for a new scent. I’ve never even tried smelling their geranium soaps because I find real geraniums to have the most disgusting, off-putting smell to ever come off of a flower. I don’t even want to tell you what I think they smell like, but it’s that bad. But, low and behold, the geranium scent from Mrs. Meyer’s actually smells amazing, and when the candle burns, it literally smells like roses. Score!

Tulips on the Table

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Tulips are one of my favorite flowers to have around the house. They’re just.so.happy. Am I right or am I right? I tend to start picking them up at the store in March and they make me feel like spring is just around the corner. 

Longer Days

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I’m not one of those people with strong feelings about Daylight Savings Time – I just don’t see the point in complaining about something you can’t change. Even though Monday morning was a bit rough, it is what it is, I say. However, on Tuesday afternoon when I got home well after 6pm, there was still an hour of daylight which meant I could take these two crazies for a walk and I was stoked! So were they. On days when Otis can’t go to the farm, he’s a complete nut job, so when we can get him out for a long walk, everyone feels a bit better at the end of the day.

Welcoming Committee 

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Back to the country song bit for a minute, my welcoming committee when I get home totally cracks me up. P.S. we can’t wait to start landscaping!

SunButter

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Have you guys tried this stuff yet? We are a household divided on this, which is fine. Quitting peanut butter was a big loss around here and TimTheFarmer jumped right into almond butter, which he eats with a spoon. Even though I love almonds, almond butter never blew my skirt up. And, it’s not like we eat bread anymore (so I shouldn’t miss peanut butter that much), but I do love a chocolate-peanut butter combo.  When I was supposed to to quit tree nuts for 6 months, seeds were the only salty-snack-nut-like-thing left I could eat. I’d been seeing SunButter on various paleo sites, so I thought I’d give it a go. And….I really like it! It’s closer tasting to peanut butter than almond butter, especially if you add some salt. It finishes a little weird, like sunflower seeds (shocking, I know), but it does the snack trick! Now TimTheFarmer and I each have our silly-expensive nut/seed butter for eating with a spoon :).

Have a great weekend!! I’ll be spending mine back in my painter’s overalls.