Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies

Yesterday I decided to make some treats for Maya and use up some of the THK Verve (I got a 10 lb box but switched back to home prepared raw). I found a recipe on THK's website, and made a few adjustments.

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup THK Verve
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy, unsalted, unsweetened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil 
  • 2 tsp shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Mix everything together
  • Roll into small bits
  • Bake at 380°F for 20 minutes
  • Cool and store

Everything mixed together

In the oven


Ideally, I would use some other type of flour instead of wheat flour, but Maya never had any problems with wheat and it's only for treats, so I used whatever I had in hand. It ended up crunchier than I expected, so next time I might add some meat or canned fish. Maya waited patiently in the kitchen when I prepared the cookie. Cooking for Maya is always satisfying, because she gobbles up whatever I make!

Hungry dog dozing off in the kitchen


Sunday, April 22, 2012

GuGu's Visit

GuGu (姑姑) means "auntie" in Chinese, more specifically calling father's sister. My boyfriend's sister, aka Maya's GuGu, came to visit us over the weekend. Just like every guests who met Maya for the first time, she fell in love with her right away.

The weather was great and we spent a nice afternoon at Stanford Shopping Center and Stanford University. Among the stores we visited, the new Microsoft store earned the most dog-friendly award. They had a water bowl by the door, three staffs greeted us, and Maya even scored a cookie. Maya's GuGu was really surprised by how many people stopped us to ask about Maya along the way. 

We also got a cute little gift from Maya's GuGu: a shiba family mini-lego set! It took us about half an hour to put together the 120+ pieces. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Green Tripe

I finally had some time today to visit SFRAW in San Francisco. I called ahead to make sure they have green tripes in stock, so I won't be disappointed again like my last visit. I ended up getting a 5 lb green tripe roll, a 2lb beef pancreas roll, and a bag of 3 cow hooves. All three are products of greentripe.com. I paid a bit extra because I'm not a SFRAW member, but the $80 per year membership probably won't be that worthwhile for me.

After letting the rolls thaw a bit, I sliced them up and packed in weekly serving portions. Many people complained about the smell of green tripe online, so I was prepared for something terrible. However, though not pleasant, it wasn't really that bad. Maybe because as a Chinese, I have a higher tolerance for yucky food. (People making a big deal out of cutting raw liver was just amazing to me.) The only complaint is that the smell stayed on my fingers for quite a while. 

Maya poked her head in the kitchen as soon as I cut open the roll. I gave her a bit to sample, and she enjoyed eating both. They will be good additions to her current diet, as tripe is rich in manganese and zinc, which I found a bit lacking, and pancreas provides some variety for her daily organs requirements.

The cow hooves actually smelled a lot worse than the tripes. I washed it a few times trying to get rid of the smell, but was in vain. Despite the bad odor, I really liked it and kind of regret I didn't get a few more bags. The texture is soft but the weird shape makes it hard to chew up too fast. At first Maya didn't know what to do with it, but once she figured it out, she fell in love right away. She finished about 1/4 of a hoof in about 15 minutes, then I took the rest away. I'll probably only give it to her when I need to brush her or when we need her to stay quietly in a place, like when we take her out dining with us. Do hope the smell won't bother others.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lip Balm

After two dog park visits and a hike in the woods over the weekend, Maya seems to start itching a bit again yesterday. I guess we pushed it a bit too far. For now, it's kind of manageable, so I'm still debating whether to give her Atopica or not. 

I also started to wonder, whether wiping her face after every walk is drying out her skin and makes her more itchy. With that in mind, I started to look for some "edible" body lotion, and the idea of using a lip balm came to mind. I've been eating it everyday myself after all. 

So far I'm very pleased with the result. Every time I see her scratching, I apply a bit on her snout and she'd stop for a few hours. After trying so many things over the months, it's nice to claim that something actually works.

Labeling the lip balm so no humans use it by accident

How spoiled is Maya? I have a good collection of lip balms I don't like sitting there collecting dust, but I gave her my favoriate one. 


Not cleaning up after the dog is one thing, but leaving a bag of poop in the wild is just beyond stupid. Someone seriously think a plastic bag filled with poop is more eco friendly than the poop itself? If you don't have the decency to bring it back with you, stop bagging it! Kick it to the side, cover it with leaves, bury it with dirt, even leaving it in the middle of the trail is better than this...

It is not a one time thing like someone accidentally dropped it. We saw like 5 of these along the short hike and a pile of bags at the entrance of the park. This is one of the very few off-leash hiking trails in our area, and I would hate the see the authorities close it because of these stupid people.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meetup at Hoover Park

Today we went to a Shiba Inu meetup at Hoover Park. I finally remembered to bring my (crappy point-and-shoot) camera this time. The action shots are still pretty bad, but at least much better than the ones taken by my phone.

Maya's litte long-coat cousin, Michi, who shares the same grandmother, is now almost one. You can definitely see the resemblance. She was a little fur ball when we first met her months ago.

Michi in action

Michi chilling

We also got to meet Bootz from the Shiba Inu Forum. Somehow Maya was really into Bootz's little sister Jackie. Jackie is a bit protective of her owners and would bark when other dogs come close to them. Maya found it amusing and would run over to trigger a bark and dash away. Sorry Jackie...

Maya harassing little Jackie

In the past few meetups, Maya was either bothered by allergies or too lazy due to the hot weather. She finally got more active this time and ran around for a full hour. She's been soundly asleep since we got back home.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Monthly Expenses: March 2012

I should have posted this much sooner, but got busy and lazy. Anyways, March has been an awful month emotionally and financially. Let's hope all the bad luck stays there. If she keeps spending money this way, I'll need to go find a better job.

March 2012
  • Treats and Chews: $35
  • Food: $12
  • Vet & Medical: $3,443
  • Daycare & Boarding: $38
TOTAL: $3,528
YTD TOTAL: $4,412

Treats and Chews

I got a bag of ZiwiPeak air-dried cuisine. Though it's meant to be fed as meals, I've been using it as treats instead. Both the humans and the pup love it! (Product reviews to come.)


I got a few trial size THK Verve to try out as Zeal is a bit too expensive for us. I also got her some raw beef to go with the meals.

Vet & Medical

The tooth incident and swollen paw sure wasn't fun at all. We also had to stock up on Frontline and Heartgard. Those weren't cheap either.

Daycare & Boarding

Maya spent a day at daycare in preparation for our Hawaii trip.

Somewhat related to finances, I got a new credit card with Maya's photo on it. I have been planning to get one with both of us since the day we got her, but somehow I couldn't find a picture which we both look good. I blame my boyfriend's picture taking skills, while he thinks that's just how I look and he can't make a Gisele out of someone who's not. Since I just realized I can make a new one every 30 days, I decided to get one with Maya on it instead.

April Updates

Aloha! It's been a while since my last update, because we've been busy traveling to Hawaii. There are lots of things I want to write about, but just didn't have the time. Hopefully I can cover most of it at once.


While we were on our vacation, Maya stayed at a doggie daycare. We were really glad that they provided webcam and an iphone app for owners to check on their dog. We've been constantly spying on her wherever we go, even when sunbathing on the beach. We missed her so much! Special thanks to our friend who picked her up, so we didn't have to pay for an extra day and we get to see her right at the airport.

Picture sent by the daycare center

Swollen Paw

About a week before we left town, Maya started to yelp on our way back from a hike. I know something's wrong, but she just sat there and cry, giving us no clue to figure out the cause. She stopped after a minute, so I thought she might just want to get out to play or that she's hungry. Over the next few days, I started to notice her lifting a leg after jumping off furnitures or growling when I wipe her paws. It took me longer than I should to realize what might be wrong and checked her paws. And there I found her front right paw pad swollen and pinkish. When I press on it, she'll give me an "angry face" and would want to bite me if I held on longer. (She did stop once her teeth touched my skin.)

For the following few days, I put some antibiotics over the paw and wrapped it with a doggie sock. When we go out for walks, I also put a plastic bag over the sock so it doesn't get wet. I believe it should just go away on it's own, but as our vacation got closer and with no improvements, we started to panic. Maya's daddy then insisted on taking her to the vet. I kind of lost the argument, so off we went to yet another vet visit. It was on a weekend, and our regular vet and all other "better" ones around us were all closed, so we ended up taking her to a chain clinic located in a pet supply store.

To be honest, it was probably a total waste of money. The doctor trimmed the hair around her paw pad, which I should have done so myself, cleaned the area and checked if anything's stucked in there, which I already did so myself. We also got some antibiotics and pain killer for Maya to take orally. Then she asked us to come back again in a week. I ended up not even giving her the pain killer and canceled the follow up visit.

I did some research online, and found that many people recommended soaking the paw in epsom salt water, so I started doing that 2-3 times per day (while shoving lots of treats in her mouth). By the time we left for Hawaii, it seems to be better. She was able to walk normally, but would still whine if I press against the paw pad. We asked the daycare to continue with the meds and took off worried. Fortunately, by the time we picked her up, it all cleared up. I'm not sure if it's the meds, or the epsom salt, or because she stayed in doors for five straight days, or simply just because of it's time to heal, I'm just grateful that it all went away. We were even thinking that it may require surgery to remove. Whew...

SPA and food therapy


Since my last post about Maya got bitten by fleas, there has been some ups and downs in her situation. Some days she's fine, some days she'll scratch like there's no tomorrow. One day I came back home finding her nearly destroyed half of her face as well as blood all over the wall. Apparently, she was rubbing her self against it. Ah, poor girl. :(

Blood on the wall
Huge wound on her face

After that big outbreak, things did get better. She was itching much less and by the time we send her to the daycare, we lowered her meds back to once every three days. Staying indoors at the daycare seems to help as well. Her wounds pretty much cleared up and her black eye was gone. It's been five days since she took her meds and she's been doing good. 

Looking much better today

Food Trial

After finishing off the 4 lbs box of THK Zeal, I switched her to Verve to save some cost. She's been doing well on it, but doesn't like the taste as much as Zeal. Since she got her tooth crown put in, I've been starting to give her some raw meaty bones as well. So far nothing gave her any bag reactions and the tooth seems to be holding up well. Chicken did give her some loose stools, so I'll probably avoid that it for a while. Since we're back home and most of her health issues are under control, I'll be switching back to home prepared raw soon. 

10 lbs box of THK Verve


Yep! It's that time of the year again. Everything and everyone is covered in fur. Every time I brush her, I can collect a mini-Maya. When she came home from boarding, we felt like she seemed much smaller. Thank you for leaving all the fur at the daycare!

Maya and mini-Maya

A Flower in the Greenhouse

There's a Chinese saying that calls someone who's so delicate and vulnerable to survive in the wild a "flower in the greenhouse" (溫室裡的花朵). I guess we got a precious little flower. It seems like staying indoors for five days at the daycare fixed everything that was bothering us. Maybe next time we should just send her there when she's sick... sigh. I seriously think we should all go "pacify Taisui" (安太歲), a prayer session with a Taoist Priest to ask for blessings and avoid misfortune, as we really had some bad luck over the past months. It's been normal and peaceful after the vacation so far, and we are enjoying it.

Cuddling with daddy