HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Creating orders, getting ready for shows, packaging items, printing shipping labels, getting to the post office before it closes, remembering to eat, trying to get some sleep, and repeat!  That has been my life for the past few months and as fun and exciting as it has been, I am so glad Christmas is here and I can take a breather and relax for a day or two!  To all my fellow friends and vendors who have been working so hard, I hope you get a moment to enjoy this time and reflect on all your accomplishments!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!
Happy Holidays from my family to yours! :)

Happy Holidays!

From top left to bottom right: Bernard, Valentine, Lucciano our doggy Angel, Jefrey, Makani, and Bubba our kitty Angel.

When I am not working, I like to take pictures of my elves…

Bernie the Elf

Bernard the Elf...Are we done yet?

What is this stupid thing!

Valentine the Elf

Valentine the Elf

Unfortunately, I can’t get the cats to wear the elf hat lol.

MY BUBBA

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Petting Bubba

Bubba tilting

I found out this past Wednesday that I have to let one of my forever foster kitties, Bubba go.  He has not been acting normal for a little while but I had been taking him to the vet and we tried different things to make him better.  Unfortunately his body is succumbing to the feline leukemia he has.  Although he was acting funny, I didn’t think it would turn into something so severe and mean saying goodbye to him for forever– I thought maybe it was his kidneys and I’d have to give him fluids or something else that can be made better and maintained.

I was supposed to take him in early this afternoon, but he passed this morning at home.  I know he is in a much better place now, but it is still hard and I wish I had more time with him.

I haven’t had Bubba for very long, but he did not need a lot of time to show me what a sweet, gentle, loving, and easy going boy he is.  The first day I brought the cats home and let them out in their room, he immediately jumped up onto the top of the cat tree and looked at the window.  There was zero transition time, this was his home.  The cat tree was definitely his favorite spot and I would usually find him curled up taking a nap in the sun or looking outside at the birds and probably plotting how to get them.

Bubba plotting against the birds outside

He has had to share his space with two sassy ladies, Makani and Jefrey.  They would hiss and swat at each other and at him, but he would never swat back.  I used to be scared of cats and he has shown me there is nothing to be afraid of, or at least I had no reason to be afraid of him!

Bubba, Jefrey, Makani

How do I get Jefrey out of my spot?

Having a meeting

Bubba was always very sweet and affectionate.  Whenever I started to pet him, he would lower his head and butt it into my tummy or leg or whatever was closest to his head.  He would also climb into my lap and put his paws on my shoulder, like I was holding a baby.  I think his favorite thing was getting his little chin scratched and would hold his head up and close his eyes.

Everyone who met him loved him, from his vet to the vet techs who worked on him to my friends who got to meet him and his previous forever foster owner.  How could you meet Bubba and NOT like him though!?  I hope he felt loved and cared for.

If there is one thing I could say to Bubba, it’s that he has brought me much joy in the time I have been able to spend with him and I am so glad he became a part of our family.  I hope that he in a place now where he can go outside and be free from any danger, have lots of cardboard boxes to nap in, yummy food to eat, and do all the things cats love to do.  I’d like to think that Bubba and Lucci will be together (although cats weren’t Lucci’s favorite) and they will be waiting for me and we will see each other again one day.

Sending you off to a new adventure with lots of love Bubba, we will miss your handsome face and you will always be with us in our hearts.

Bubba

Bubba

Bubba

Petting Bubba

HAPPY 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY LUCCI BUCCI

5 years ago today, I thought I was adopting a dog.  What I really got was a charming, bossy, funny, tantrum throwing, salmon loving, endearing, chubby bodyguard and companion.  I miss his cute little beer belly, cutting his hair when he was sleeping, him stalking me everywhere I go, his snores, his presence.  I wish he was here with me to celebrate, but I am sending him a big hug today. People may have been afraid that he was going to bite them (a rational and reasonable fear), but this is how I will always remember him!

Happy Anniversary my Lucci Bucci!

My LoveYou will forever fill my heart with joy.

MY LUCCIANO

It is with a very very heavy heart that I have had to let my Lucciano go.  I hope that by doing so, he can move on and go on to his next adventure.

Although he is a very bad vegan, he was a wonderful companion, friend, pack leader (let’s get real– he was the boss of everyone), and has such a big and special place in my heart.  

I hope he knows that there are people who love him so very much and will always miss him and never forget how he has touched us.  

Here is our story of how we met, all the wonderful times we shared together, and all that he has taught me.

Lucci Bucci at the park

Do you know the story of how Lucciano came to be a part– or more like the boss– of our family?  My mom and I had been volunteering at The Lange Foundation for several months and she would always walk Lucciano because he went at a nice pace.  One day when she was taking him back, she said he stopped and walked towards the line of parked cars by the sidewalk.  He took her over there then she knelt down next to him and he put his head on her lap.

“He wants to come home with us!” is what my mom said.

After she said that, the thought of NOT taking him home with us did not exist!

I don’t know what Lucciano was like before Lange rescued him from the South LA Shelter, but from his mug shot, it didn’t look like he was taken care of or paid much attention to.  He was an owner surrender and if there’s anything his previous owner did right, it was to send Lucciano our way.

Elena from Lange bailed him out on May 16, 2008.

Lucciano's Mugshot

{This is Lucciano’s mugshot from when Lange first rescued him from South LA.  He obviously had not been groomed or well taken care of.}

Lucciano at Lange

{This is Lucciano after The Lange Foundation bailed him from a kill shelter, groomed him, took him to the vet, and got him ready to be adopted!  Look at how handsome he is :) }

I remember when he first came to Lange and which kennel he was in and our first walk around the block with Lucci.  He was quiet and calm and then towards the end of the walk he barked at bush. From then on, each time we went to Lange we would make sure to walk him and hang out with him.

Before we adopted him, walking Lucci at Lange

{Walking Lucciano at Lange, before we adopted him}

My mom walking Lucci

{My mom spending time with Lucci.  Can you see his 2 adorable little teeth?}

 We adopted Lucciano on October 30, 2008.

We knew he was an older gentleman (maybe between 8 and 10?) and probably wouldn’t live as long as a younger dog, but we thought we could give him a good home he could spend the rest of his life in.

(Way later after we adopted Lucci, Elena told me that everyone at the shelter she pulled him from had said he was “the devil dog” except for one volunteer who said he was a sweetheart.  He bit a few folks at Lange, including Rachel the first day he got there and Jose when he tried to pill him.)

The day I went to go pick him up to take him home, he didn’t want to leave because he smelled food at the kennel.  He yelped, cried, whined, and walked all over me the entire ride home (this was how we learned he didn’t like car rides).  We walked him around the block and he barked at our neighbor’s cardboard Halloween cat decoration.  He claimed his spot in the living room, which was on the black chair.  At bedtime, he refused to sleep in his bed and jumped on my bed…I put him back in his bed.  He jumped back up.  I put him down again.  He jumped back up!  That night was the first night of many nights that he slept by my side.

His first meal with us

{Lucci’s first meal}

This is my chair!

{He jumped right on this chair like he was saying, “Yup, this chair will do, thank you very much.”}

Lucci's Bedroom

{This is a messy photo of our room and where we slept.  Lucci’s house was next to my bed and he loved my furry leopard blanket so I gave that to him.  I would make his space nice and cozy every night!  That orange thing was his toy :)}

It’s hard to describe Lucciano in words because he has such character!  My brother’s friend calls him “The Boss” and that’s what he is– the boss of everyone who he has met who is either captured by his fluffiness, taken with his charm, or had the fear of his bite instilled in them.  He also knew how to get what he wanted and threw temper tantrums.  Please refer to this video and see photo below, where he is caught in mid tantrum!  Most of the time he threw temper tantrums at my dad, who was eating some kind of chicken or fish he wanted.  I used to get mad at my dad for feeding him all this stuff I told him not to, but now I am glad he did and that Lucci got to do what he loved, which was eat!

Give me chicken!

{Throwing a temper tantrum}

Rub my belly!

{Being his adorable self, lifting his arm when he saw us walking by, which was his way of demanding a belly rub}

When we spent time with Lucci at Lange, he was always a nice walker, barked only that one time at the bush, and would love belly rubs.  We didn’t know he would be as feisty as he is.  Not too long after we adopted him, after a walk on a rainy day, my mom decided to wipe his feet.  We did not realize he was sensitive to people touching his paws and he got her– good.

His first bite

{This photo doesn’t capture how bad it really was but my mom’s fingers were swollen for weeks.  The funny thing about this picture to me, is Lucci in the background}

But there was no way we could send him back!  Things happen!  We were still getting to know each other.

Since then he has successfully bitten 12 people to my knowledge, and probably tried a lot more.  But you know what?  It was because he was scared and afraid we were going to hurt him.  Somehow, he had learned to associate being touched or handled with something negative.  We all tried very hard to show him that people can be good.  And we loved him and have grown to understand him.

I have to say, it was scary each time he bit because there was no warning growl, only a CRAZY noise he’d make as he bit you!  I seriously considered sending in a tape to The Dog Whisperer many times.  Then after he tried to bite me was another scary time because the next time I would have to groom him or do something to him, I wasn’t sure if he’d strike again.  But we got through it and these past few years he has let me pet him, groom him, cut his hair, clip his nails, and clean his ears (mostly while he is sleeping).

Lucciano has taught me so much.

Sniffing the air

{Enjoying the breeze and sniffing the air}

Did you know there was a point in my life where I didn’t understand when people called themselves “mom” to their dogs or why they spent tons of money on them and babied them?  Lucciano taught me, it’s ok to be like that, I will still like you, won’t make fun of you, put up with it, and maybe even like it a little bit.  He was the first anything that I felt like I needed to call “My Love” because he really is.

He has taught me about trust and earning it, loyalty (he had pretty bad separation anxiety but when he got better, he would just wait for me by my door to come home from school or work), laughter (why is he so funny and cute??), patience, creativity (any time we had to give him medication we had to figure out a way to do it without him noticing), friendship, and most importantly love– the unconditional kind.

Waiting for me to come home

{Waiting for me to come home}

I'm home!

{I just pulled up! Thanks mom for taking these pics!}

Unconditional love

{Friendship + Unconditional Love.  PS: This was at the beach where he looked up at the sky and barked at EVERY SINGLE seagull!  A classic Lucci move}

The love we receive from our furry family members is not something you can really describe, but anyone who has experienced it knows how special it is.  I have never felt anything like this before in my life.

He has taught me how to care for another living being.

He has taught me great empathy.  When he was happy, I was happy.  When he hurt, I hurt.  When he cried, I probably cried harder.  I remember hearing his whining as the vet brought him out from his first dental and I burst into tears like a crazy person in the lobby.  (They were very very nice about it and assured me he was not feeling any pain at all, just woozy from being knocked out.)

He taught me that when you care and love someone or something, it doesn’t matter how tired you are, how upset you are, or how busy you are, you make the time and effort for them and in the end you always know that that was the right decision to make and that was where you needed to be.

And in his most recent lesson, he has taught me about life, death, and letting go.

I will always remember all the ups and downs we had, but especially the many very sweet moments we shared– like when every morning, we would run from my room to the couch and he would jump into my lap and we would snuggle under the covers for a few minutes before we had to get ready for the day.  I remember I could just hear him breathing snuggled next to me and it was such a funny and loving moment.

Another thing I loved was if he was at the other end of the room, I would kneel down and pat my hands on the floor and he would run to me– I would always say “Penguin!” when he did this because it reminded me of a penguin for some reason and it always made me laugh.  I loved seeing his adorable face bounding towards me.

That face!

{That face!  This was Lucci’s first Christmas card.  We have the most amazing groomer that worked with him and made him so clean and cute!}

Lucci also did this funny thing where he would bite his stuffed dog and whine and not let go!  We called him his baby and eventually we took it away from him because we weren’t sure if he was sad or upset but he would just have it in his mouth and whine the whole time!  Anyone out there know the meaning of this??

Lucci and his baby

{Lucci and his stuffed dog…falling asleep with him in his mouth!}

Besides eating he LOVED to sleep.  He always found the funniest spots, in between chair legs, on my mom’s shoes, in the middle of the floor so people would have to walk around or over him, Valentine’s bed that was too small for him, etc.  He also did this funny thing where he would lift his head up to look for me– when I saw him do this I would say, “I’m here booboo!” and he would literally drop his head back down on the floor with a thud!  I was always afraid he’d hurt his head this way, but good thing he didn’t.  We’d joke he was like a football player because if he wanted to get into a room and there was a crack in the door or something blocking his way, he would just ram right through it!

Snoozing on the pilates machine...

{Sleeping on the pilates machine}

He was an only child for the first few years we had him.  Then I found Valentine. Then Bernard joined the gang.  They’ve all had their share of ups and downs too, but eventually had a mutual understanding and love.

Lucci and Valentine{Valentine would always go lay down next to Lucci}

Bernard and Lucci

{Bernard and Lucci}

The Trio

{Booboo, Baby Girl, and Littlest One :)}

In these past few weeks, our relationship has elevated to another level.  In these hard times, Lucci allowed me to take care of him and do what we could to keep him going.  He fought like the tough guy he is, but in the end, it was just time.  We all grow old and this shell we live in just cannot support us for forever.  Just like he has always been by my side, this time I was by his side.  The past few weeks I have tried to be with him every moment I could.  He slept by my side.  I brushed him constantly because I know he liked that.  I massaged his tired body.  Anything I could do next to him- work, emails, etc. I did.  Every second I have had with him, whether hard or easy, heavy or light, is something I will always treasure and keep with me.

I think anyone who has lost someone goes through in their mind all the things they could have done or should have done.  For me, I wish I had taken him on more walks when he could go, more trips to the park, and that I was able to give him all the foods he loved before he lost his appetite.  It never really occurred to me that in the end, he would not be able to do what he loved to do most.  But on a few of his good days, he actually did gobble down two of his favorite foods and I was so happy to just watch him eat.

Everyone who loved him did the best we could for him, and I hope he knows how special and important he is to us.  I truly hope that we have made him happy during his time with us, because he certainly has filled my heart with so many smiles, with life, and with tremendous amounts of purpose and joy.

I don’t know what happens to us after we leave this Earth, but I feel in my heart it is a much better place without any suffering or pain.  I hope Lucciano is free from all the ailments of his old body- that he no longer has arthritis and he can walk and run again; that the sunlight no longer hurts his eyes and he can see perfectly; that he has the energy to bark at all the birds in the sky and roll around in the grass; that his big appetite has returned and he can eat whatever his heart desires; that he feels happy, loved, and content.

I think if Lucci could talk to us he would tell us not to be sad and to go eat chicken because that always made him feel better (I don’t think he ever understood the concept of veganism).  He would say that his body is old but his spirit is strong and as feisty as ever, and the only way his spirit can be free is to leave his body behind because he no longer needs it.  That he will always be my little shadow.

He has changed my life in more ways than he will ever know.  I am so grateful he has been a part of my life.  I miss him very much and love him very much.  He will forever be in my heart.

Walking my handsome boy!

{Going for a walk with my handsome boy!}

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{Rolling in the grass was a favorite activity of his}

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{Full speed ahead!  I love how happy he looks and how cute his round little tummy is :)}

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{Dozing off in the grass in the backyard}

Lucci

{I loved seeing him run to me!}

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{With my mom and Valentine}

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{Meeting Connie for the first time!}

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{His first bath– he tried to attack the blow drier so towel dry it was!}

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{He was a toughie on the outside and a softie on the inside!}

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{His hippie stage– this picture always cracks me up!}

My love

{True Love}

PLACES TO GO + WAYS TO GIVE // THE LANGE FOUNDATION…MEOW

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PLACES TO GO // The Lange Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
WAYS TO GIVE // Adoptvolunteer, or contribute to the Lange Foundation

People are always saying whether they are dog people or cat people– I think we should be both!

I used to be scared of cats and by “used to” I mean up until about a year or so ago.  But now I realize how silly I was, worrying about getting my eyes scratched out (especially when here I am getting bitten by Lucci which has only made me love him more)!

I think I was scared because I just didn’t understand them and hadn’t spent enough time with them to appreciate them fully– which can actually apply to a lot of different situations that are going on in the world right now.

But I am really happy and excited to be bonding with them!  I’ve gotten a great chance to do that at The Lange Foundation.

I’ve been going to Lange and adopting from them for the past 5 years and they are an amazing no-kill shelter located in the West Los Angeles area.  The Lange Foundation rescues their dogs and cats from the euthanasia list from local shelters.  They save their lives, rehabilitate them, and give them a home until they meet their forever families.

If you are looking for an addition to your family, this is the place to go!  If you are an animal lover but can’t take one in at the moment and would like to help, this is also the place to go in the form of a volunteer!  If you don’t have time but want to support their work, consider making a monetary donation–  they rescue so many animals in need of surgery and emergency treatment, helping with the vet bills would be great!  They also have a monthly donor program as well as The Gift of Life (which I think is one of the best presents in the world to receive!)  Visit their site for more info on any of the above: www.LangeFoundation.org.

There are lots of gorgeous cats at Lange of all ages, sizes, colors, and personalities!  (I did not know there was such a thing as a lap cat until I went in one of their cat enclosures and Dodger Dill basically came over and tried to plop down in mine!)  The sad truth is that while kittens are easily adopted out, adult cats unfortunately are not.  However the lucky ones that make it to Lange will get to spend the rest of their lives there with caring staff and volunteers.  This post is dedicated to all the beautiful cats who are at Lange and available for adoption.

Maybe they have been waiting for you :)

Dodger Dill just wants to sit in your lap.

Dodger Dill, being the sweet lap cat that he is!

Below each image is a link to their PetFinder profile!  If you know any cat lovers, I think you should share these pics with them– I am pretty sure they will fall in love.

PS: Don’t forget to spay and neuter and encourage others to do so as well so more cats and dogs don’t end up in the shelters!

PPS: One cat I unfortunately didn’t get to take a photo of was Mimi, another lap cat.  She was so adorable and friendly!  Here’s her PetFinder profile.

This is only a little peek at all the lovely cats there, to see everyone who is looking for a home, please visit the cat adoption section of their site.

 Boris taking a cat nap in the sunshine :)  Boris, being the definition of “cat nap”

Drew is up to something :)

Drew : handsome, spunky, and charming

Socks soaking up the sun

 Socks is a looker and has the beauty mark to prove it!

I am in love with Faye's little paw hanging out at the bottom  I am in love with Faye‘s paw hanging out at the bottom :)

faye looking

I accidentally woke her up…

faye

…but she fell right back asleep!

Hello!

Taking a look at what’s going on down there!

DuskyGraycie looking regal– stop by Lange to meet her!

I am also in love with Jessie's paw!

I love Jessie‘s pose.

How do you do?

How do you do?  I am Spumoni!

trini

Trini has such pretty coloring and markings on her face!

Macy properly sitting

 Macy and a big toy mouse.

Getting some exercise!

Keeping a slim figure. This exercise wheel also reminds me of that show Double Dare.

How to Cook Tapioca for Your Dog

FYI- this post is a long one, but I wanted to share this experience in case someone else is going through the same thing.  If you want to get right to the cooking, scroll down for the recipe/directions.  If you also have a dog that has kidney failure and arthritis and would like to know what else I feed my dog including supplements, please read this post for more info.

Every year is filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, disappointments and hope.  2012 was no different, and one of the hardest things I faced was towards the end of the year, when Lucciano was diagnosed with renal (kidney) failure.  It’s hard to describe how I feel when the thought of losing him becomes a very real possibility.  I know death is a part of life and we all will have to go someday, but when I think of having to say goodbye to him, my eyes well up with tears and I feel like I can’t even begin to cope with the idea of it, let alone when it becomes a reality.  To think he will die of a disease that will cause pain and discomfort is the hardest part– I don’t want him to spend his remaining years suffering.

Lucciano became a part of our family about 4 years ago, when we adopted him from The Lange Foundation.

{This is what Lucci looked like when he was first pulled from the shelter by The Lange Foundation.  He looks a bit like the Abominable Snowman, and as you can see probably was not groomed very often.}

{This was the first day we brought him home and his first meal!  Jose from Lange worked his magic and he looked like a little white puppy!}

We think he is some sort of terrier mix and is about 12 years old.  He is an amazing, adorable, and charming but tough little guy!  Lucci has a special place in my heart because he was the first one adopted and he started our pack.  He would also not hesitate to bite if he felt threatened (he may have come from a home where he was neglected or not had much positive contact with people).  While he has had his moments (and bitten about everyone from the vet to the groomer to me and my parents) and it has taken almost these entire 4 years to gain his trust, it amazes me that I think we are finally at that point, that I am his person and he has chosen to trust me.

{Lucci’s first Christmas with us!}

When the vet told me Lucci had renal failure, I really did not know much about this condition.  When she started to tell me his blood test results was showing that only a 1/4 of his kidneys were working, I was expecting the worst.  After going over everything from best to worst case scenario, she told me the first thing to do was change his diet and to put him on supplements to help with his kidney.  She emailed me some recipes for dogs with kidney disease and tapioca was a staple in a few of them.

{In the earlier years, Lucci would love to run and play!}

First things first– where can you find tapioca?  You can order it online or find organic small pearled tapioca from Bob’s Red Mill brand at Sprouts or Whole Foods (call them ahead of time to make sure they have it in stock.)  There were no directions given on the recipe from the vet on how to cook tapioca, and none could be found on the bag.  When I Googled it, the recipe popped up but also with no instructions!  I found other dog owners asking how to cook plain tapioca as well.  After some sticky trials and tribulations and additions later, I feel like I finally got this down!  Hopefully this can help any first time tapioca cookers out there!

I also want to let you know that after 1 month of changing his diet and putting him on supplements, Lucci’s blood tests came back and the results were so much better!!! One of the numbers was almost back to the normal range!  I also had a co-worker who reassured me that the diet change worked, and her boyfriend’s dog who was diagnosed with renal failure at the age of 12, didn’t even have that diagnosis anymore when she passed of old age at 16.  So I just want to put it out there that a diet change can yield very positive results and if you are feeling the same things I did and upset at this diagnosis, in my experience, cooking for your pet can really help to turn things around.  I hope this post can provide you some comfort and information during this difficult time, and I hope your dog starts feeling better soon!

The last thing I wanted to mention is that I found a few different recipes online, researched the ingredients in each and came up with my own recipe for Lucci because 1) he also has arthritis and I’ve discovered that foods that are good for arthritis are bad for the kidneys and vice versa and 2) he would NOT eat the tapioca on its own…I think it’s the gelatin like texture.  He tries to lick it a little but he won’t pick it up and eat it.  I mix the tapioca with couscous, which is a grain that is low in phosphorus and does not seem to affect Lucci in a negative way based on blood test results and monitoring his arthritis (seems to be no worse and no better, the same as usual).  If you’d like to know more about what I feed Lucci and what supplements he takes, you can find all the ingredients and details in this post.

Tapioca for Your Dog

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of the recipe only.

I am not a veterinarian, nor do I have any formal training in any medical field.  Please consult your vet before making any dietary changes to be sure it fits your pet’s needs.

– Tapioca, small pearled and organic
– Water
– Couscous and/or Barley (optional, but are great to mix with tapioca if you need the texture to be more solid and less sticky)

I roughly use the ratio 1 part tapioca and 2 parts couscous/barley mixture.  I usually start with 1 cup of the tapioca pearls which is what the recipe below is.  This yields enough food for about 1 week for Lucci, who is 20 pounds and usually eats about 1 1/2 cups of food per day which is split into 3 meals a day.  (Eating more frequently but smaller portions helps the kidneys by not asking them to do a lot of work at once.)

For the tapicoa:  Place 1 cup of tapioca pearls in a small saucepan and soak in 1 1/2 cups of water for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed and pearls are enlarged.

{Soaked tapioca}

Add another 1 1/2 cups of water to the pearls for cooking.  Start cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally (I recommend using a silicone spatula if possible.)  As the pearls start to become translucent and small blobs of sticky tapioca form, stir frequently.

{The tapioca as it starts to get translucent and globby}

Continue to stir as most of the pot of tapioca becomes translucent– at this point it may start to bubble and make “blop blop blop” sounds.  You can lower the heat and add some more water (to help thin out the tapioca a bit)– keep stirring!

The tapioca is done when all the pearls become translucent (if you have a few that are still white in the center it is OK).    It usually takes me about 15 to 20 minutes (less if I am cooking less) for the tapioca to be cooked.  It will be one sticky mass.  Transfer to a container to let cool.  Scrap as much of the tapioca out of the pot as you can with a spatula, this will help with cleaning!   I have found that the easiest way for me to clean the pot is to let it sit out until any tapioca left on it has dried.  Then I can just peel most of it off!

{The cooked tapioca}

For the barley: I also add barley to the mix since it is supposed to help relieve symptoms of arthritis and is also low in phosphorus which is better for Lucci’s kidneys.  I get it in bulk from Whole Foods and cook it the same as rice.  I place the barley in a pot with about triple the amount of water and bring to a boil.  I lower it to a simmer and continue to cook until the barley is very soft, adding more water if needed.

{Adding the barley to the tapioca…looks a little slimy alien-like…}

For the couscous: While the tapioca or barely is cooking, prepare the couscous (which I buy in a box at Trader Joe’s).  It is 1 part couscous to 1 part water.  In a pot, bring the water to a boil.  I add a few drops of unrefined sesame oil to the water as well.  Once the water boils, remove from heat and add the couscous.  Stir to incorporate the water with couscous, cover with a lid, and let sit for about 5 minutes and it’s done!

Once the barely and couscous are ready, I add it to the bowl of tapioca and stir well.   If your dog doesn’t mind the stickiness, you can add less of the couscous/barley or not add it at all.  This seems to be what works for Lucci!

You can make a lot ahead of time and freeze, or I usually cook once a week and keep the food in an air tight container in the refrigerator and it lasts until I need to make more.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at yummyyearproject (at) gmail (dot) com.

Lucciano and I send well wishes to you and your pup!