Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Bring Your Dog to Work Day

Yesterday was "Bring Your Dog to Work Day". Though it didn't really affect me, since almost everyday is my "Bring Maya to Work Day", it came to me as a good time for a post like this.

I felt really lucky when we went shopping for an office space and found this nice dog-friendly building right in our budget range. Being able to take Maya to work with me made my transition from a stay-at-home doggie mom to a full-time workaholic much easier for both of us.

I was a bit afraid Maya might not be accepted by all my colleagues, but fortunately she won over everyone's heart without even trying. The first thing everyone does in the morning as they step in the office is to say hello to Maya. I would literally get scolded on the days I didn't bring her.

It is interesting to find that feeding Maya seems to be somewhat fulfilling. I can clearly see the smile on everyone's face when they hand her a treat. Maybe it's the way she enjoys every bits of food that makes us all appreciate the little thing more. Letting Maya out of the baby gate seems to also turn into a fun game. Every time I step out for a break I would come back to a pup running loose in the office. I guess Maya's shiba mind control is working really well here.

All in all, I am grateful that Maya has been truly welcomed to the big family and glad she's able to spread some happiness along the way.

Pictures taken by my lovely colleague

Glacier Peak Allergy Test

I learned about Glacier Peak Allergy Test through a Jindo owner Dr. M introduced. She has a dog with severe itchiness and another with digestive issues. She told me the test help improved both dogs conditions a lot after she changed their diet based on the test results. I was a bit suspicious, since the testing methods aren't that scientific, but decided to give it a try as it is relatively cheap (compare to the many other things I've tried).

I placed the order for the kit on 5/31 through their website and got the package around 6/5. (I found a few cheaper ones online, like from here and here, but after double checking with Glacier Peak, it was confirmed that the cheaper ones only have the food test while the more expensive one has 3 different tests: food, environmental, and beneficial holistic remedies.)

The kit came in an envelope, with instructions, a form to fill out, a return envelope, a comb and some cotton swabs. All I had to do was to fill out the form, collect some hair and place the swabs in Maya's mouth for some saliva. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.

The allergy test kit

Things included in the kit

Hair and saliva samples

I sent the samples back on 6/6 and got a confirmation on 6/8 that they received the mail. And on 6/19, Maya's result came back by email. (I've also uploaded a copy of the PDF here).



Beneficial Remedies

Personally, I think the result is quite believable, though part of the result was to sell their products. It kind of echos her blood test result with only flea showing up in the environmental section. Some results also match my own observation, like her "sensitivity" to chicken, eggs, and wheat. However, some really surprised me, like sweet potato, duck and turkey, which I feed regularly. The "Probable Concerns" are also quite valid, as the hotspots on her feet is likely to have yeast infection. It is interesting to see some similarities with our last NAET treatment, which called out Zuke's treat (peanut butter, rice, barley), Nature's Balance cookie (duck, potato), and a soda cracker (wheat).

According to the Jindo owner, food sensitivity may not be the same as allergies. It may not always cause itchiness, but during the seasons when their bodies are weaker, it could start trigger the itchiness and make it look like seasonal allergies.

If the test is accurate, it could explain why none of the elimination diet worked, since sweet potato or potato has always been considered "safe", and never got removed from her diet or treats. For now, I will try to cut out all of the red items, which probably means I can not give her any commercially made food or treats, and I might have a hard time finding enough bones for her diet (since she can't have chicken, turkey or duck and I'm afraid she might break her teeth again on beef or pork bones). I might also look into adding some digestive enzymes.

Regardless, I think this will be a helpful guideline for me to plan Maya's meals. I really really hope this can help improve her conditions.

The total cost -
Test kit: $75.00
Shipping: $2.22
Postage for returning the samples: $0.66

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monthly Expenses: May 2013

Whew... I'm finally back home from my week long business trip and have some time to finish this post. May has been a crazy month financial-wise. I guess the idea that I have a full time job has gradually sunk in and I have become more generous with myself the pup. Anyways, here's how I doubled my year-to-date expenses in a month:

May 2013
  • Food: $106
  • Treats & Chews: $20
  • Training: $436
  • Vet & Medical: $217
  • Accessories: $29
  • Supplements: $22
TOTAL: $830
YTD TOTAL: $1,565


We stopped by SFRaw and got some green tripe, duck wings and turkey grind. I didn't notice till I paid that they increased the non-member add-on fee from 15% to 30%. Now I have to seriously consider whether I should pay $80 for the annual membership or find other sources for Maya's raw meat.

Treats & Chews

For treats, I got a box of Salmon Ears as well as a bag of Real Meat Fish & Venison. I really like the quality of both treats and the simplicity of their ingredients. I also purchased some sweet potato, ground beef and canned sardine for the dehydrator.


Most of the expenses this month came from this category. We purchased a 10 classes pass and signed up for a 6-session Scent Workshop at Zoom Room Belmont.

I also got Maya a Fitpaws Peanut, which is a peanut shaped yoga ball. It's a good tool to help strengthen the core and legs while the dog try to balance on it. There are days when we are just too tired to exercise with her, and this is a nice way so burn some of her excess energy in the living room.

Vet & Medical

Aside from another visit with Dr. M, this month we also stocked up a year worth of Heartgard. I also order an allergy test from Glacier Peak Holistics (more on that later).


Under the accessories category, we got a shorter and lighter leash for training classes so that it won't get in the way when she needs to drag it.

I also got myself 3 coin pouches to hold Maya's treats. A friend told me she always carries some treats in her pockets when I complained about Maya's recall (she'll check if we have treats in our hands first). I had been looking for some nice containers for my pockets ever since, any these seems to be a cute fit.


For supplements, another dog owner recommended Phytogel from Tomer Labs for Maya's itchy feet. The gel has a bad taste and a warm sensation when applied. I do find Maya licking her feet a bit less, but the taste is still not strong enough to stop her. She also got a new bottle of coconut oil to add to her meals.


Others than the things listed above, there are a few things that are somewhat pet related but I decided to leave out. The first on is the dehydrator I bought to make Maya's treats. Even though we also use it to make snacks for the human, I don't think I would ever consider buying it if it weren't for Maya.

The other things I got are 4 under bed drawers from Ikea. Maya got into the habit of hiding under the bed which I really don't like. For one, it's one of the dirtiest place in the house and the dust definitely won't help with her allergies. And most importantly, I was always afraid the bed could collapse in the middle of the night and crush her under me. The thought of it could make me sleepless and there were really some nights I crawled out of bed to lure Maya out. It's good to have the peace of mind and some much needed storage space nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


After debating for a long time, we finally decided to get a dehydrator. (Well, the real story is more like this: one day Maya's daddy came home all excited telling me this wonderful machine his coworker had. I got quite upset, because I told him about this thing months ago, but he totally dismissing the idea and said that "we don't need to spoil our dog more". Now he acts like it's the first time he heard about it and it's so awesome because someone else says so...) Anyways, this thing ended up on our kitchen counter a few days later.

There were a few different models to choose from. I picked "Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC", which is 500W and comes with a jerky gun. So far, I'm really pleased with the product and have made 3 batches of treats for Maya and 3 batches of snacks for the humans. The only compliant is that the whole machine is made of plastic, so I'm afraid to put it the trays the dishwasher and some of the smell is hard to get rid of (like beef liver).

There are also a few lessons learned along the way: 1) Sweet potato and fruits should be cut in very thick slices or they'll turn into chips, 2) Tomatoes will not dry with the skin on, 3) The machines should be moved outdoors when drying smelly stuff, 4) Either start drying in the early morning or late at night, cause it takes about 10 hours to dry, 5) For meat, the leaner the better.

For 1.5 pound (24 oz) of ground beef, I can make about 8 oz of beef jerky, which costs about $6 from the grocery store. Compare to what I paid for commercial treats, it's not really that much of a money saver. However, it's feels much better having full control of what's going into the dogs stomach.

[Edit 6/4 12:53] I just read the product description again, and seems like the entire machine is dishwasher-safe except for the power head. I'll try washing a single tray first tonight. (The one with the strong beef liver smell.)

Sweet potato, beef jerky and beef liver treats

Dried fruits

Sweet potato + sardine