Bedford Creek Marina and Campground: Sackets Harbor, NY

On our way to the K9 Central Wild Card Double Header, we stayed overnight for the first time at Bedford Creek Marina and Campground .

We had a nice end spot with room to walk the dogs.

When Rita and I went for our first walk, look at what we saw at someone’s campsite!  I was hoping we’d get to see the GSP, but we didn’t.  Maybe next time!

This campground offers a beach, boat rentals, marina, pizza & ice cream shop, and mini golf!

Margarita and I walked down to see the beach in the morning.

What a view!

Rita enjoyed stalking all the birds!

Taking in the views!


This campground was a great stop-over!

K9 Central Wild Card Double Header: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

This venue by far is our favorite!  The event at K9 Central has camping on site, awesome pool set-up, and some of THE nicest people you will ever meet!

Not only is the venue our favorite, the easy drive, and the beautiful scenery add to the enjoyment of our road trip.

One of the most exciting parts of this journey is the Thousand Islands Bridge.

I am not a fan of bridges – especially narrow ones (yikes!).

However, I do my best to put my fear aside so that I don’t miss out on the beautiful scenery of the Thousand Islands area on either side of the bridge.  The view is gorgeous, and you get to see many of the privately owned islands while crossing the bridge.


The past few years we had taken a few extra days off for this trip, so we are usually the first ones there!  We love how close our camper is to the pool!

This was also the first trip in our new camper!

We upgraded to a bigger camper with double slides so we could have more room !

Limoncello:  Team Coach

Limoncello enjoyed lounging in the camper with Margarita.   Coaching Hooch and Lager is a “ruff” job – so Cello relieved some stress by getting a massage from our friend, Marti, at Pawz Therapy.


Big Air

  • 22’6″
  • 23’3″  1st Place Elite Division
  • 22’9″
  • 24’1″  1st Place Elite Division
  • 23’3″  1st Place Elite Division
  • 22’9″
  • Big Air Pro Division Finals:  22’6

Extreme Vertical All-in-One Final Format

This probably was the most exciting Extreme Vertical for Hooch and Jenny as a team!  Hooch matched his personal best, grabbed the bumper at 6’6″  and in the end earned 3rd Place Top Gun Division  – but not before Hooch had to go into a “jump-off” with 2 other dogs who were in a 3-way tie with him!


Big Air 

  • 17’7″
  • 19’1″
  • 20’9″  2nd Place Master Division
  • 18’6″  2nd Place Senior Division
  • 19’2″  1st Place Senior Division
  • 19’8″ 1st Place Senior Division

Extreme Vertical All-in-One Final Format

  • 6’2″

Speed Retrieve All-in-One Final Format

  • 7.037seconds  1st Place Turbo Division

Iron Dog All-in-One Final Format

  • 2920.34  3rd Place Gladiator Division

Margarita:  Team Cheerleader

Margarita made sure to get her beauty rest in the camper with Limoncello in between cheering-on her siblings during the competition.  She also enjoyed a massage with Marti!

Whiskey (Wish): First Ever DockDogs Competition AND Adoption Day!

Whiskey was still our foster dog, Wish at the time of this trip.  However, she had begun jumping into the lake at home, so I figured, why not try her up on the dock?!?!

We had been calling her “Wish the Fish,” so I bought Whiskey very own “fish wubba” for the dock.

I registered her under the name “WISHkey,” as a guest Liver Killer team member, and hoped for the best! Whiskey not only jumped into the pool, but earned herself a DockDogs World Championship invitation!

Big Air



7’0″  Second Place Novice Division

6’3″  Second Place Novice Division

We had fallen in love with Whiskey long before this trip, but had been fighting the urge to adopt her.  We decided while on this trip we would no longer fight that fight, and called Pointer Rescue, Organization to let them know we would like to adopt her.  Welcome home, Tennessee Whiskey!

Liver Killer Bling

We had been known for our American Flag team canopy for quite some time now.  Unfortunately, at this event, a huge wind gust came along and mangled it! We have been searching for another one ever since.

This was also not a very good “maiden voyage” in our new camper.   It had rained very hard the last day of this competition, and the ground became extremely muddy. We sank – A LOT – and had to get towed out.


Luckily there was no damage done to the camper and we made it safely home!

We can’t wait to come back to Canada next year!



5-Month Check-Up

Almost immediately after diagnosis of Limoncello’s DCM, news regarding the grain-free diets being the culprit for many dogs’ cardiac issues exploded.

At this appointment with Cello’s cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly, an echocardiogram was done. This time the test revealed that despite the fact that Limoncello was taking the suggested supplements and had displayed no symptoms whatsoever, her heart murmur increased in severity from a grade 2 to a grade 3, and her DCM had worsened. Although Cello’s heart rate was normal, her echocardiogram measurements of her heart’s left ventricle both in diastole (relaxation) and in systole (contraction) phases had increased, which confirmed progression of her heart disease. We were devastated.

Due to the new developments on the grain-free diets, it was highly suggested that change not only Limoncello’s diet, but the diet of our whole pack. Blood work was drawn and sent to UC Davis to determine Limoncello’s Taurine level. Results revealed that Cello had a low plasma Taurine level of 50. (Normal plasma range of Taurine in dogs is 60-120, and Normal Whole Blood range is 200-350).

We were told to increase Cello’s Taurine from 1,000mg twice daily to 1,500mg twice daily, and to keep her L-Carnitine and Coenzyme Q10 the same. A 5-month follow-up echocardiogram was also scheduled.

During the appointment I was provided with a handout with information about the study of grain-free diets. The following information is copied directly from Limoncello’s discharge paperwork, and is written by Dr. Lisa M. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist and professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University:

  1. Popular grain-free dog foods may be linked to heart disease. The common factor was a diet heavy in peas, lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes – the carbohydrates typically intended to replace the grains. Diets with exotic ingredients such as kangaroo, duck, fava beans, buffalo, tapioca, salmon, lamb, barley, bison, and venison and even some vegan diets have been associated. DCM has now even been seen in dogs eating raw or home-prepared diets.
  2. There is ongoing suspicion that the disease is associated with these boutique or grain-free diets, with some of dogs improving when their diets changed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine and veterinary cardiologists are currently investigating this issue.
  3. Exotic ingredients are on the rise. Exotic ingredients are more difficult to use. Not only are the more exotic ingredients unnecessary, they also require the manufacturer to have more nutritional expertise to be nutritious and healthy. Exotic ingredients have different nutritional profiles and different digestibility than typical ingredients, and also have the potential to affect metabolism of other nutrients. For example, the bioavailability and metabolism of Taurine is different in a lamb-based diet compared to a chicken-based diet or can be affected by the amount and types of fiber in the diet.
  4. Dr. Freeman believes pet owners are feeding these exotic ingredients because they’re falling victim to marketing which portrays exotic ingredients as more natural or healthier than typical ingredients. There is no truth to this marketing, and there is no evidence that these ingredients are any more natural or healthier than more typical ingredients. This is just good marketing that preys on the desire of pet owners to do the best for their pets.
  5. There is no proof that grain- free is better. Many pet owners have unfortunately also bought into the grain-free myth. The fact is that food allergies are very uncommon, so there’s no benefit of feeding pet foods containing exotic ingredients. And while grains have been accused on the Internet of causing nearly every disease known to dogs, grains do not contribute to any health problems and are used in pet food as a nutritious sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  6. Consider your dog’s diet. If you’re feeding boutique, grain-free, or an exotic ingredient diet, reassess whether you can change to a diet with more typical ingredients made by a company with a long track record of producing a good quality diet. Stop reading the ingredient list. Although this is the most common way owners select their pet’s food, it is the least reliable way to do so. Be careful about currently available pet food rating websites that rank pet foods either on opinion or based on myths and subjective information. It is important to use more objective criteria such as research, nutritional expertise, and quality control in judging a pet food. The best way to select what is really the best food for your pet is to ensure the manufacturer has excellent nutritional expertise and rigorous quality control standards.
  7. If you are feeding your dog a boutique, grain-free, or exotic ingredient diet, watch for early signs of heart disease… Weakness, slowing down, less able to exercise, short of breath, coughing, or fainting. Your veterinarian will listen for a heart murmur or abnormal heart rhythm, may do additional tests, or send you to see a veterinary cardiologist for your dog to have x-rays, a blood test, electrocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram).
  8. If your dog is diagnosed with DCM and eating one of the diets discussed above, the following steps are recommended:
    • Ask your veterinarian to test whole blood and plasma taurine levels. The University of California Davis Amino Acid Laboratory is recommended.
    • Report to the FDA. This can be done either online or by telephone. The FDA may be able to help with testing costs for your dog. Reporting it will also help us identify and solve This current problem.
    • Change your dog’s diet to one made by a well-known reputable company and containing standard ingredients such as: chicken, beef, rice, corn, wheat. Changing to a raw or home-cooked diet will not protect your dog from this issue and may increase the risk for other nutritional deficiencies. If your dog requires a home-cooked diet, or has other medical conditions that require special considerations, be sure to talk to a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist before making a dietary change.
    • Start Taurine supplementation. Your veterinarian or veterinary cardiologist can recommend an appropriate dose for your dog. Be sure to use a brand of Taurine with good quality control.
    • Any improvements in your dogs DCM can take 3 to 6 months. Your dog will need regular monitoring and may require heart medications during this time. There is no guarantee that your dog will improve but it is certainly worth a try. Make sure your dog is getting the best combination of medications to treat for heart disease, as this can make a difference in the outcome.You can find a board certified veterinary cardiologist near you on this website:

During this appointment, I was also given a handout from the FDA on how to report a pet food complaint.

Although I have different views on some of the dog food ingredients that were considered standard in Dr. Freeman’s above statements, our entire pack was immediately taken off their grain-free diet of Orijen brand kibble, and I began to research food companies. I also spoke to our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell about our pack’s individual nutritional needs. Lastly, I also spoke in great length to the owner of a local dog food supply store who has had relationships with several prestigious dog food companies and distributers for an extensive amount of time.

Cardiology Service Update: Dog Food & Dilated Cardiomyopathy

The following handout was forwarded to me by Limoncello’s cardiologist, Dr. Beth Bossbaly. The Direct link can be accessed by clicking HERE.

The Cardiology Service has developed this document in response to the alerts from the FDA. These alerts identify an
associated risk for some grain-free diets containing certain ingredients (legumes like peas, pea components, lentils; white
potatoes, sweet potatoes) and a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The links provided throughout this document
can be copied and pasted to obtain additional information.
FDA Alerts found here:

What is Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)?
DCM is a heart muscle disorder that results in a weak pump function and heart chamber enlargement. In the early stages of
this disease pets may appear totally healthy with no apparent clinical signs. Later in the course of this disease, dogs may
have a heart murmur, an arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), collapse episodes, weakness or tiredness with exercise, and even
trouble breathing from congestive heart failure. While there are some breeds of dogs (like Dobermans) that have a genetic
predisposition to development of DCM, there are also nutritional factors that may result in this disease.

What should I do?
If you are feeding a diet of concern based upon the FDA alert we recommend that you consult with your veterinarian or
veterinary cardiologist. We provide 4 general points for guidance below:

  1. An initial step is to consider whether you are willing or interested in performing additional testing to assess whether
    your pet is affected with DCM. If you believe your dog is at risk, showing any of the aforementioned clinical signs or would
    prefer to simply rule out any heart disease, we recommend that you first have your pet’s taurine levels tested (both whole
    blood and plasma levels) as well as seek an echocardiogram by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist. Low taurine levels
    are associated with development of DCM in dogs and are sometimes a component of this current issue.
    Information on taurine testing can be found here:
  2. At this time, diet change is recommended when possible and should be considered regardless of the results obtained
    from any testing. You can consult with your veterinarian in selecting a new diet that avoids the ingredients of concern listed
    by the FDA. When selecting this diet, we recommend that you choose a diet that is manufactured with rigorous quality
    control measures and research behind the formulation. A way to ensure that your diet meets these recommendations is to
    follow the following guidelines that were generated by a large number of the world’s leading experts in veterinary nutrition.
    Food selection guidelines found here:
  3. If your pet is identified through testing to have a low blood taurine level or evidence of DCM by echocardiogram, we urge
    you to report this information to the FDA.
    FDA reporting guidelines found here:
  4. Work with your veterinarian(s) to determine the best course of action and medical treatments if indicated. In the case of
    a DCM diagnosis, diet change alone may not be sufficient and additional medications may be prescribed.

Please continue to monitor the FDA website and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Newsfeeds for updates and
recommendations regarding this issue.

How to Report a Pet Food Complaint

The following handout was given to me at Limoncello’s 5-Month Check-Up appointment at VSEC with Dr. Bossbaly. You can also access the link directly by clicking HERE.

How to Report a Pet Food Complaint

Report a Pet Food Complaint

You can report complaints about a pet food product electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or you can call your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.Your report to the FDA is important. Thank you for submitting it. The FDA continues to devote time, energy, and resources to monitor reports of illness that could be related to pet foods, to determine their root causes where possible. The FDA will review your report to determine whether any follow-up investigation is possible or needed based on the information provided. A follow-up investigation could include collecting pet food or treats, or seeking a diagnostic sample from your pet for analysis. Even if no testing of pet food products or diagnostic samples is needed, your report will be part of adverse event and product surveillance to help prevent future problems. You may choose to have your pet food product tested by a private laboratory, but testing may be costly. The FDA cannot pay for private laboratory testing costs or provide reimbursement for veterinary costs associated with your animal’s illness.

Please have as much of the following information available when submitting your complaint:

Consumers often transfer dry pet food into other containers for easier handling.  If possible, please save the original packaging until the pet food has been consumed.  The packaging contains IMPORTANT information often needed to identify the variety of pet food, the manufacturing plant, and the production date.

  • Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label)
  • Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.)
  • Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature
  • Lot number – This number is often hard to find and difficult to read.  It is stamped onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best by/before or expiration date (if the product has a best by/before or expiration date).  The lot number is very important as it helps us determined the manufacturing plant as well as the production date.
  • Best by, best before or expiration date
  • UPC code (also known as the bar code)
  • Net weight
  • Purchase date and exact location where purchased.
  • Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and handled

Description of the problem with the product.  Examples include:

  • Foul odor, off color
  • Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
  • Foreign object found in the product.

If you think your pet has become sick or injured as a result of consuming a pet food product also provide information about your pet, including:

  • Species (dog, cat, rabbit, fish, bird, other)
  • Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered
  • Previous health status of pet
  • Any pre-existing conditions your pet has
  • Whether you give your pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs
  • How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes
  • How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package?
  • How much of the product you still have
  • Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy)
  • How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared
  • Your veterinarian’s contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet
  • Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet
  • How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms
  • Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected
  • Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised
  • Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness

Crystal Springs Wilderness Lodges & RV Resort: Cream Ridge, NJ

Brian and I camped at Crystal Springs Wilderness Lodges & RV Resort for our 11th anniversary on August 4, 2018!

The site was spacious!

Around the campground…

Margarita found a friend! This bull is actually a smoker!  I was hoping we’d get to see someone using it during our stay – I  bet it looks so neat when the meat is cooking and the smoke is coming out of the bull’s nose!



Whiskey enjoyed the scenery too

Whiskey noticed a friend off in the distance – but was too afraid to go closer!

Hanging out around outside our camper and enjoying the weather!

We love playing Scrabble – and the dogs love helping their Pop!

Hooch wants to play the winner!

Mojitos, beer, and Scrabble – our kind of summer day!

Another great camping trip – and another year in the books – Happy 11 Years to us!


Another visit to Crystal Springs in 2019 for Easter:





Porter (His first camping trip!!!)