Category Archives: Dogs

How To Budget For Your Pets

How To Budget For Your Pets, budget for pets, budgeting for dogs, budgeting for pets, meredithrines, merelynne, meredith rines, budgeting tips

Not that long ago I shared over on Youtube Live all about budgeting for your pets.  I get asked ALL THE TIME if we include our three dogs in our grocery budget or if they have a budget all their own.  Well… watch the video to find out what we do to cover vet bills, food costs and boarding fees.

You can watch online or down below.

How do you budget for your pets?  Do you keep it separate or lump it all together in your other monthly categories?  You have to find what works best for your family.  We played around with our budgets until we found a system that worked for us.

If you need more help with budgeting, check out the posts below:

How To Create A Budget in Under 10 Minutes

how to create a budget in 10 minutes

How To Create A Sinking Fund

What is a sinking fund

Why Amazon is Mom’s Best Friend

amazon is mom's best friend

DIY Dog Emergency Kit

DIY dog emergency kit

With three dogs running around our house at all times, J and I have finally learned what we need to have on hand.  You see, if all of our dogs were like our sweet Maggie then we would have no problems.  They would sleep under the bed all day, eat their dinner like a good girl and then cuddle up next to you on the couch.  

DIY Dog emergency kit

dog emergency kit

But the other two dogs….

Well let’s just say they are the complete opposite of our Maggie girl.

….oh Tiny and Bud.  Those two are a bit crazier than most.  They run, they tackle each other, they slide into the door and then they run around outside.  So it’s inevitable that these two would get hurt.  We like to keep a dog emergency kit on hand to be prepared for those little emergencies.

One of the last time we left town, we dropped the dogs off with this amazing lady who takes care of them.  Each dog had a great time and she even spent time with Bud on doing some training.  He was doing great.  I got to work with him and see which command words worked for him.  Then I took all three dogs home.  We get in the door and I realized Tiny was missing her collar.  Normally that isn’t a big deal until I noticed Bud was expelling the neon green collar from a not so pretty place.  Then he started choking and coughing, a lot.  We rushed him to the vet and after a few X-Rays we learned it was in small pieces and nothing was wrapped around any organs.  He would naturally expel the collar.  Yay!

Okay, okay so that story really had nothing to do with a DIY dog emergency kit and why you need one, but it is a reminder to always pay attention to your dog.  I’m adamant about making sure everything is okay and their habits are running like clockwork.  Bud is still a bit young and has a lot of learning to do.  He’s not afraid of anything, which is not always a good thing.  He’s more curious than anything.  So with him, I’m especially careful when he starts acting a little different.  

The little emergencies are the ones we can treat at home.  A nip here, a scratch there, etc.  I talk so great about Maggie, but when she was a young pup she got into a whole brand new container of birth control pills.  Plastic, foil wrapping, pills and all.  I called the emergency vet clinic and luckily because she was female and I could find majority of the pills they weren’t too worried about the pill ingestion.  They knew and warned me it would make her sick, but not fatal.  They were more concerned about the consumption of plastic and foil.  So I had to induce vomiting.  Thankfully they talked me through it and all was fine, nasty, but fine.  

Around our house, we see quite a bit of these little accidents, especially in the summer.  Something about the warmer weather has our dogs stir-crazy so they end up outside a lot more.  We put together this easy to use dog emergency kit that has really paid off.

Here’s what we have in our DIY dog emergency kit:

  • antiseptic wipes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • gauze pads
  • medical tape
  • self-cling bandage wraps
  • q-tips
  • cotton balls
  • disposable gloves
  • tweezers
  • phone numbers to your local veterinarian’s office.  Ours even has an after hours line for emergencies, that’s in there too
  • ASPCA poison-control center hotline, which is 1-800-426-4435
  • leash – we use the freebie we received from the vet awhile back.  It’s not the nicest, but with the loop that goes around the neck, it’ll be the easiest to use in case of an emergency.

I went to the Humane Society’s website and found this article.  Luckily, I had most of what they were recommending on my list.  They do have other items too that would be great to have on hand.

dog emergency kit

I would highly recommend creating a dog emergency kit for yourself to have.  I mean, with some adjustments this would work for your cat, too.  We just don’t have any cats – darn allergies!  These little guys can fit nicely into a small plastic tote and then be sealed, labeled and stowed away until they are actually needed.  

I would also suggest setting a reminder to go through your kit each year.  Throw away anything that is out of date and replace any used or old product.  I have a alert in our Google Calendar for each January to go through ours.  

Why I’m Glad Our Son is Growing Up With Dogs

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies, kids and dogs

Before getting into the many, many reasons why I’m glad our little boy has three dogs to call his best friends I want to tell you a story.  This story took place when I was only nine.  My best friend in the entire world was a Rottweiler named Storm.  We did everything together – played in the mud, laid in the grass, played ball, and he even watched over me as I rode my bike up and down our street.  The best thing Storm did for me every day was walk me to and from the bus stop.  Each morning I would load up my backpack and head out the door with Storm right beside me.  He would wag his little stump of a tail as I talked about all the fun things I was going to do in school.  He would sit patiently at the end of the street until the school bus came, then he would walk home to wait until it was time to pick me up again.  No matter the temperature or weather conditions, Storm never failed.  He was always by my side.  

One day while waiting for the bus like we had done hundreds of times before, a man in a red SUV pulled up.  He didn’t live down my street and I had never saw him before.  He rolled down his window and started talking to me.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  There was no one else around, so I answered.  He complimented by dog and me.  At this point Storm was now standing a little in front of me with my hand on his back.  He was keeping a close eye on this new stranger.  He told me he liked to take pictures and would love to get one of me and my dog some day.  I replied with the fact the school bus should be pulling up any minute.  He then asked if I would go with him to get his camera so we could come back to take pictures.  All the red flags and alarms were going off in my head.  This was a BAD man.  

Within moments he had started opening his door.  My hand left Storm’s back and next thing I know my protector had jumped through the car window towards this man.  I took off.  I ran as fast as I could back to my house.  Screaming for my Mom and Dad.  By the time I reached the front porch Storm was by my side.  

I told my parents what had happened and they immediately called the sheriff’s office.  To this day I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but the man did live in the neighboring subdivision and within a few months he moved out of town.  

Storm saved my life.  I truly believe he saved me.  I know I couldn’t have out ran this grown man at only 9 years old, but because of Storm I got away.  

That story is the main reason I want our son growing up with dogs.  Dogs that will protect him, walk with him and keep an eye on him.  Just like Storm did for me all those years ago.  

Now there are many other reasons I want our son growing up with dogs, which aren’t as scary as my story.  

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Dogs are loyal.  The moment we brought our son home our three dogs knew he was theirs to take care of.  They get up through out the night to sleep by his crib or just to peek their head in to make sure he’s okay.  Tiny, who is my scared-of-everything dog has to be near him at all times.  She follows him, and if he cries she’s the first on by his side – often pushing me out of the way.

Dogs teach responsibility.  Dogs are a huge commitment.  It’s important for our son to learn to care for another being.  He is learning how to pet gently, play with them and will eventually learn how to feed and take care of their water bowl.  At an early age it can help your child feel needed and they can learn the importance of having a few small jobs around the house.

Dogs help with learning new skills.  I can remember sitting on the front porch until it was too dark to see reading a new book to Storm or one of my other dogs.  Reading out loud to your dog can help your child learn new cognitive skills.  Kids who talk to their pets show improved cognitive skills and imagination.

Dogs can help your child be healthier.  Dogs want to play, a lot.  Chase toys, run in the backyard or just keep your child moving around the house.  By having a dog (or in our case three) we’re never short of a dog wanting to play.  Taking our son outside in the backyard with a bunch of dog toys will keep him and our dogs occupied.  This give him a chance to be outside in the fresh air, play with more than just those annoyingly loud baby toys and shows the dogs just how great their new human brother is.

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Dogs can boost a child’s self-esteem.  This goes back to teaching responsibility.  By having our son help with a few tasks each day he can feel proud of what he has accomplished.  Not only is he taking care of a living being, but he’s helping out Mommy and Daddy around the house.  I can think back to where my job growing up was cleaning up the yard (you know what I mean….).  It was dirty and smelly, but I knew it had to be done.  I felt proud knowing my dogs yard was clean and healthy for him to be in.  My parents were proud because I helped (and because they no longer had to do it).  I knew what it mean to pitch in and help out, and that was pretty great.

I know it’s important for our little man to have dogs in his life, just like I did growing up and just like J did.  To me a dog is a best friend, someone who knows all of your secrets and never judges you.  Someone you saved the last bite of your grilled cheese for and laugh when you get slobbered with kisses after being gone all day.  That’s the love I want our son to know and feel.  The protection at the bus stop will just be an added benefit and will give me a peace of mind.  

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Three Dogs and a Baby Bump

The other day I was watching one of my favorite movies – 3 Men and a Little Lady.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the first one just as much.  It so sweet – the story of these suave-like men struggling with simple tasks like changing a diaper, feeding and hiding drugs in the baby’s diaper; and yet in the end that baby was exactly what they needed in the lives.  In the second one I just loved when Peter and Sylvia finally got together and they all lived happily ever after.

I have a little funny scenario going on in my life… three dogs and a baby bump.  These dogs just think they rule the house, which in reality they do.  But I haven’t been able to bring myself to tell them that will all change in just a few short months.  At times I feel like they have no idea what’s going on with Mom, especially when they decide to rough house and use the couch as the safe zone until one of them tackles the other.  Then they do something that surprises me – they’re calm.  Each one, in their own way.


The other night while sitting and watching TV, I was about to fall asleep when Bud came and joined me.  You see, J has let Bud think he controls the seat.  So he wants right in between your legs.  Usually using your leg as a pillow, but that night, Bud did something sweet.  He laid his head on my ever-growing belly and was calm.  We sat like that for an extra long time.  And I just knew that he was listening to his little brother in there.  The baby was calm, Bud was calm and I was able to close my eyes for a bit.

A similar situation happened with Tiny one night while laying in bed.  The baby was moving like crazy and sometimes it was actually hurting – he really likes those ribs!  Tiny came up and put her head on my belly … the baby laid still and settled.  As soon as Tiny got up the baby did a high kick straight into my ribs.  I think he liked having Tiny right there…. at least I did!


Maggie, she’s my princess.  My first one and the start to my strange-love to save all dogs.  She cuddles more and has wanted to spend a lot of time in the soon-to-be nursery. I can’t tell if she knows changing is coming or if she doesn’t want to miss any of it.

I’ve been noticing a pattern whenever one of the dogs put their heads on my belly.  Everyone gets calm.  I have a pretty strong feeling this little boy is going to be so loved, not just by me and J, but also by these three crazy dogs of ours.

Little Bit of Life

I figured it was time to give a life update on here.  It’s been almost 10 months since J and I moved to my hometown.  Big things have happened in that short period of time.

2015-03-01 15.09.45 Untitled design (1)

We’ve adopted a third dog, Bud.  We took him for 2 reasons – 1) we couldn’t leave a stray dog at a busy gas station parking lot in the middle of summer and 2) we’re crazy.  Bud really does have his own personality.  He’s mischievous, smart and a sweetheart.  He loves to play with socks (my fuzzy ones are his favorite!).  He loves all toys.  He likes to pick on his 2 sisters relentlessly.  Bud is also a huge fan of J.

My work is going amazing. I’m learning a lot, which at times can be a bit overwhelming.  I’m still on track to finish the Certified Financial Planner® classes and will hopefully sit for the exam next year.  I also have outlined my 5, 10, 15, and 20 year goals for work.  It’s crazy looking into the future that far, but it really shows me what all I need/want to accomplish in such a short time.  I also have been hard at work on  I’ve been creating new budgeting pieces and recipes galore.  If you want more behind-the-scenes (and of course more pictures of my cuties) then follow me on Instagram.  I share beauties like my nice-looking hairstyle HA!

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J went back to school this past semester.  I’m so proud of him!  His class is going great and he’s doing really good in it.  It’s an advanced English class and he’s flying through it.  He plans on taking more classes this fall, but wanted to start off slow.  I think he just wanted to get his feet wet and show himself that he’s got this!  I could go on and on about how proud I am.

2015-02-28 07.38.12

Maggie and Tiny are still doing great.  Little Tiny (who isn’t little at 45 pounds) is still my little baby.  She cuddles with me every night, wakes me up early each morning, and greets me with I get home.  Her tail wags so hard and so fast that her whole body moves.  She’s adorable!  Tiny loves Maggie and never wants to be away from her.  She also likes to sneak attack Bud then take off running to hide in the other room.  She’s pretty smart and has learned how to open the back door to get in or go out.  I just wish she would learn how to close it behind her!

Maggie is still my first and is absolutely perfect.  She’s cuddles with me every morning after J leaves for work.  She patiently waits her turn to be greeted after the other 2 when I get home each night.  Maggie turned 6 this past year, which is crazy to me! I still remember getting her and having to wait a few months before I could actually take her home.  She’s just the best!

Life has been looking pretty good for us these past 10 months.  It’s hard to think it’ll be a year in no time since we moved here.  I’m having a great time being home!

Snow Day Fun

Snow, I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

southeast missouri, dogs playing in snow

Do you know what happens when a town gets hit with over 7″ of snow on top of a thin layer of ice?  It shuts down.  Especially when that town is not prepared for it, at all.  That’s what happen to us this past week.  So come Thursday morning we enjoyed ourselves a little snow day.

Of course we’re adults, so we had to put in a few hours of work early in the morning.  Afterwards we came home and relaxed.

Actually this exact same thing happened a few weeks ago.  J and I were both off for one day then and now I’m off for 2 days this week.  Poor J had to go to work Thursday morning.  I was pretty worried about him being out in town driving around.  But he made it!

all three playing 2015 Bud in the snow 2015

We let the dogs have a little snow day fun in the backyard.  Bud was the happiest of all.  He ran, jumped, dug and rolled around in the fluffy white stuff.  Tiny was reluctant to let loose.  Once I was outside with her, she finally started to have fun.  Of course, Maggie did her own thing for pretty much the whole time.

The most fun was when the stole my gloves to play tug of war with.  That was great.  My favorite part was when Bud buried one of my gloves.  Yep, buried.  Isn’t that great of him?!  It took me close to 10 minutes to find it and dig it up.  Boo!  He had so much fun trying to beat me to finding the glove.  All he did was bury it deeper, too.


Were you hit with any snow these past few weeks?  We were hit more than average for this time of year with record lows.  I can’t wait for summer!

Going to the dogs


It’s no secret that I’m crazy over our pups.  I have many posts and Instagram images dedicated to them.  I can’t believe how much bigger Bud has grown in just the short 8 months we’ve had him.  Plus, Friday is the 2 year anniversary of when we found Tiny.  She was just a poor little pup on the side of the highway, scared to death and only 4 pounds.  I love these little guys so much!

I compiled some of the most recent ones to share.

maggie - sleeping maggie bud - tired bud and maggie

Our Newest Addition…

Bud_sleeping Bud Bud III_edited Bud_edited

J and I have expanded our family by one… a hound-mix that we named Bud.  AHHH! He’s just so cute and cuddly.  So Thursday morning I get a call from J telling me about a dog that had been dumped at Kroger and was wandering around the fuel pumps.  He went on to say they had called the pound over an hour ago, but no one had showed up.  THE POUND?!??! The pound in town is awful!  Dirty, dark, and very rarely does a dog get adopted.  I went running into my Dad’s office with tears in my eyes asking what I should do.  J is the logical one, the sane one, the realistic one… I’m not.  So for him to literally say “go get him.”  I had to.  Just had to.  I pulled up and there he was sound asleep in the hot sun.  I scooped him up with more tears in my eyes and drove straight to our vet.  He was checked out, given shots, and flea treatment… now he’s home.  We named him Bud Weiser.  Don’t judge – J works for an AB distributor.

Maggie_edited Tiny_edited

The other two dogs are taking their time getting used to their new brother.  Tiny wants to play, but she doesn’t realize just how much bigger she is.  Maggie … oh Maggie, she licks his face and wags her tail, but she needs to realize that she’s still the queen bee.
Bud's paw

Dearest Tiny

Tiny_edited stray dog stray dog stray dog Sometimes a post doesn’t need any words.


What I’ve Learned From Owning A Dog

What I've Learned From Owning a Dog
1) their love is unconditional and always forgiving.  They easily let go of the fact you’re home an hour late or can’t take them to the dog park like your promised.

2) it takes hard work to care for another living being.  I mean, you have to fill their water bowl up several times a day.  Heaven forbid you’re a little late on serving dinner because you might end up with a dinner bowl chewed to pieces and strewn across the living room.

3) they don’t judge you for eating your second helping of ice cream… in the past 20 minutes.  If they had it their way that jar of treats you have on the counter would be gone in less than 5 minutes.

4) how to be polite to a passerby who thinks you have the sweetest dog in the world.  Because, the truth is, you do have the sweetest dog in the whole wide world and it’s only natural they want to share in your joy.

5) they never complain about my cooking and are always eagerly awaiting a taste or better yet, leftovers.  I’ve learned to eat my dinners with my plate as close to my face as possible so I do not have to glimpse into those sad puppy-dog eyes.

6) their attention to security is of utmost importance.  They will stand on guard at every window and open door in the house to alert you that there is a leaf blowing across the front yard.

7) finally accepting that every article of clothing will mysteriously have dog hair embedded into the fabric.  Honestly, you wouldn’t have it any other way.  You secretly smile every time you look down and see one of those blonde pieces on your dress pants.

8) your alarm clock now consists of getting licked in the face, stepped on and the occasional bark.  This is all done out of love.  You see, your precious would hate for you to be late to work or even worse, late to taking her outside to chase the squirrels.

9) how to save money for extravagant purchases like rabies shots, flea and tick preventive, and ‘spa’ days.

10) how a good lick, a wag of their tail and running in circles can turn any bad day into an acceptable one because you have the love of your dog.  She doesn’t care how bad your day was because hers was excruciating without you home.  She didn’t know for sure that you would return like your promised as you left that morning and she sat all day waiting for your car to pull up.  You are the best part of her day and she is so thankful that you’re home.

Everyday I’m learning something new from owning a dog.  Actually, in all truth – I don’t own a dog.  We are partners in this life, through the good and the bad.  I was blessed the day she entered my life and am grateful for the time we have together.  If anything, she owns me and has me wrapped around her little paw.