Good shepherd

anka

I always thought I’d be a golden retriever person. And I still am. Indeed, I am still very much into the gun dog breeds. I will always have one around.

But I’ve added to my canine tastes an entirely different sort of dog. Well, they aren’t entirely different. I really like the working shepherd dogs from the European continent. They are into retrieving, too, but their natural tendency is to retrieve with a very hard mouth. Half-wild sheep or cattle living on the North European Plain need hard tending.

Anka is a working German shepherd, whose ancestry I’ll never know, but I know she is from working lines. Her dark sable color predominates in those strains, and she is only 64 pounds.

She has decided that I am her main human and with me is as demonstrative and fawning as a golden retriever. With strangers, she is merely aloof. Aggression towards people really isn’t her thing. She loves children and will even adjust her wild playing to meet their needs.

I suppose now I will always have a dog of this type too. The two types of dog are an interesting juxtaposition to each other. Both are about seeking the approval of mankind. Both are about marveling at our species. As flawed as we are, there is something oddly comforting to look into the brown eyes of a dog like these two types.

A German shepherd is a wolfy enough animal for me to think of them as something truly primitive. But their primeval appearance is illusory. They were made wolves out of herding stock, and though they may have a bit of Central European wolf blood coursing their veins, they are working herding breed.

I suppose that as I gain more experience meeting dogs, I will have new ideas about them, and I have the right to change my mind as new facts and faces come to the fore.

I never thought I’d feel this way about a dog of this type, but I really do like her. I love her soft sensitivity, which she avails only to a select few, but it is so different from what I’ve seen in other “macho” breeds.  The boxer and working bulldog types I’ve been around are not like this at all. They are many things, but sensitive souls they are not.

I feel so embarrassed that I was wrong about this breed. Dogs barking like maniacs in backyards or the ones that you pass at the park that growl at you as their owners hold their leads tightly are not truly representative of the breed.

In fact, those same dogs in the right hands might be the most stable working dogs. and with their owners, they might be biggest babies that cower before the Yorkshire terrier or cat that lives in the house.

Anka has this odd sense of humor. It is developed and refined. She greets me with a lick on the face, and then when I’m not looking at her, she will pop her jaws just an inch from my face. I will flinch, and she will look back at me with this goofy grin. Her eyes are so soft and gentle, yet you cannot readily see them through her black mask.

And the way those eyes look at me, I know that I am hers and she is mine, and all will go right with the universe so long as we can be together.

 

 

Natural History

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To the water

ian casting

Bluegill aren’t the prized fish of any big-time angler. They are pretty easy to catch, and in some not particularly pressured bodies of water they will happily nail unbaited hooks.

But they have a special place in my heart. I’m fairly certain that the first fish I ever landed was a bluegill, and if I’m feeling that I can’t catch anything, I’ll always try to for the bluegill. I’ve never gone bluegill fishing and failed to land at least one, and if you’re just looking to cast out and drown some worms, they provide a bit of relaxation and hint of Zen-like meditation.

And they are beautiful fish. The males in spawning color have the most spectacular turquoise marking around the heads and gill-plates. Were they not the banal fish of every little fishing hole, they would probably be prized as a sort of temperate cichlid and cost at least $ 25 a pair.

The current project around the house is setting up a native fish tank. It’s a birthday gift to my partner, and what’s more, my partner’s son is spending a few weeks with us.

And I get to share that childhood joy of landing that first bluegill, which he did this week. I wanted to make sure he got the fundamentals of fishing before we went out “for real,” when we were going out deep in the quest for our new tank specimens.

I taught to cast using a Zebco reel. The Zebco was the reel I first learned to use, and in a about a half hour’s worth of casting practice, he was doing the job well.

So we went to the lake at a little state park not far from here. We threw some night-crawlers and mealworms in the blackness of a summer lake. The bright orange bobbers floated like alien craft on the surface of the water, and every once in a while, the bobbers would tense up and shift, sure sign that a creature was nibbling at our bait. And then the bobber would go below the surface, and I’d say jerk and reel, and we’d miss.

But then we didn’t. The little bluegill fought his hardest against the line being spooled back towards the shore. He was so small that I was certain he’d gotten unhooked, and the boy reeled in his line, expecting to be left with a bare hook. Instead, he pulled in the little blue.

And his eyes beamed with pride at having landed that fish. It was prize every bit as a great as that record-breaking muskie or that giant flat-head reeled on a hot summer night’s fishing foray.

To the water we have gone.  And we have gone in search of beasts. We cast our lines into the murky universe that we can never fully enter. We hope that our baits are good, that our hooks are sharp, that our knots are steady, and that we reel just right.  Our big brains and dexterous thumbs have made us masters of the land, but when it comes to the life aquatic, we are mere amateurs. It matters little if we’re casting into little farm ponds or into the deep swelling sea. The fish have the answers. We can only hope that we ask the right questions and hope that luck swims in our way.

I hope I have passed on some of this mystery to Little Ian. I know that I have given him a chance to have some fun and think about the world that is not ensnared in steel and concrete. To consider the organic world from which we all descend is a gift I wish every child could receive.

So now we’re ready to collect our first specimens. I hope we get some bluegills or, even better, some of their related sunfish kin. These are the beauty fish of North America, but they are so common that we never consider their beauty fully. They are bycatch for bass and crappie anglers or bait for the flat-head hunters.

But they are still marvelous. And yes, they are tasty.

ian catches fish.jpg

 

Natural History

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Ohio Cat Caught Carbon Monoxide Leak and Saved His Family

Mr. Boo the cat

Photo Credits: Kecskes Family

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and potentially lethal gas. Although many families now have carbon monoxide detectors by their smoke detectors, not everyone has the life-saving alarms. Luckily for one family that didn’t have an alarm, their cat, Mr. Boo, alerted them to a gas leak and saved the lives of all four family members.

According to daughter Ariana, her cat Mr. Boo “never meows. He usually just squeaks or doesn’t meow at all. It’s actually kind of a joke in our family” she said. Thankfully he meowed as much as he could when his family was in danger.

David Kesckes, his wife, daughter Ariana, and son were all asleep in their home in Green Township, Ohio. “I woke up to my cat meowing,” said Ariana. Mr. Boo then did more than meow. “He was sort of stumbling down the hallway and he just kept meowing. He seemed to kind of want us to get out of the house. He passed out so many times trying to wake us all up and that just amazing because he’s never really meowed before,” Ariana said.

Fox19 played part of the 911 call. You can hear David tell the dispatcher, “my daughter fainted in the hallway, my son fainted on the back porch, and our cat fainted in the living room.” David got his son up to carry Ariana outside. Ariana’s mom got Mr. Boo out. Even Mr. Boo’s feline friend, the family’s other cat, did his part. “Our other cat actually walked in and kind of revived him because he was knocked out…[he] sniffed him like ‘Hey, get up,’” explained Ariana. The reporter later tweeted a photo of Mr. Boo resting with Ariana.

Photo Credits: @Fox19_Mike

“That cat’s a hero for sure,” said David. According to Local12.com, Ariana said that Mr. Boo is a rescue cat who has been part of the family for seven years. Not every rescue pet will be a hero, but we know that they all have the potential to be amazing. That’s part of why Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble donate over 1.5 million bowls of Halo food to shelter pets every year. Shelter professionals have told us that more pets get adopted from their shelters because the animals thrive on high-quality Halo food. The more pets who get adopted, the more families like the Kesckes, can have their own heroes.

“Had this situation gone on much longer, the outcome could have been different,” said Green Township Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Hummeldorf. Firefighters detected lethal levels of carbon monoxide in the house. “We’re celebrating the fact that we’re all alive,” David told reporters. Boo went missing after the ordeal but was thankfully found that afternoon, hiding in the family basement. The whole family, Mr. Boo included, were okay in the end.

Our pets do so much for us, Halo believes in doing everything we can for them, starting with great food. We hope Mr. Boo is getting a hero’s reward with lots of love and healthy treats. Reflecting on his heroic meows that fateful May morning, Arian said, “It’s like he’s been waiting his whole life to do this one heroic thing.”

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Grooming Fail

Donkey fauxhawk! A new trend perhaps? Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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New life

birth

The hours passed on nice summer day. All day the mother dog has panted and stared. Her maiden litter was on its way, and I was there to watch them come.

A sweet little golden retriever, she was too sensitive to push unless she knew her people where there to stroke her ears and tell her what a good girl she is.

As the night drew near, she climbed on the bed between us and then began her long night of pushing and pushing. A wave of contractions would rise from within her, and she would rise in discomfort and turn around. Then she would go prone again against the bed, but the next wave would have her rise, pushing and turning in her primal mammalian dance of parturition.

At one point, her vulva was just inches from my face, and in her pushing, I could see the coming amniotic sack, and then I saw the head of a golden retriever puppy emerge from her body cavity. It was perfection just wrapped in a sheet of biological plastic wrap.

Another push or two, and the bitch screamed as the puppy passed from the prenatal state into the breathing and screaming existence that we call life.

Then the membrane that held him so securely then split away from his face,  and as the oxygen filled his little lungs, he inched over to the milk-filled mammaries and helped himself to a good helping of colostrum.

But he was still connected to his placenta and for what seemed an eternity to me, he was both nursing off his mother and tapping into her blood supply. He was trapped between both states, but one was about to let him go and sink into the other.

He suckled ravenously, and the mother dog expelled the placenta. And thus the first of a litter of seven little puppies entered the world. Through the dark hours of the night, two little girl puppies and four more little boys lurched forward into the great bursting of existence.

And the mother dog shared it with me. She, a beast perfected over the eons to serve mankind, needed us to hold her as she began to force her progeny into the world.

I have never before been privy to such a spectacle. I have no interest in producing a child of my own, and all of my experiences with dogs whelping have been fleeting memories from childhood, where the bitch whelped black crossbreeds in the back of the garage and I hoped that the daddy was a Labrador and not the fierce boxer from up the road. And obvious flattened muzzles exhausted those hopes very quickly.

But to know a dog like this one, one that trusts me enough to share this intimate aspect of her life, is a moving experience. I am better for having been privy to the entire spectacle.

And I am happy. I am content. And I am free.

 

 

Natural History

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Ask Paris: My Dog Doesn’t Want to Pee Outside!

My two-year-old Golden Doodle is reluctant to go in the backyard to do her business. I coax her to do so but she seems afraid to venture out unless I stay with her. Also even though she gets taken…



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DogTipper

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Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An ‘Influencer’ In Difficult Times)

Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An 'Influencer' In Sad Times)

When I posted back on July 2nd about taking a break while we were in the mountains of Colorado, I fully intended on the blog being nice and full this week. I did share a really fun post about my favorite summer snack food, but shortly after hitting publish on it, I got a call that my best friend of 23 years, who had been battling ALS since early last year, had just passed away. I knew that call was coming any day now. But it didn’t make it any easier. It hurt really, really bad. I’m crying as I type this, to be honest. I feel very depressed. It sucks. So I just couldn’t post about anything else today (or yesterday) other than what is happening – yet I struggled with whether or not to post this too. And I want to explain why.

I get more emails and messages asking how I became an “influencer” (so not a fan of that term but “blogger” sounds outdated these days) than any other topic. And honestly, I don’t have an answer. It’s not something I planned by any means. I worked in the fashion industry for 14 years as an eco-friendly designer, and then I started this blog as a side project to promote a new Etsy shop I’d opened back in 2010. Much to my surprise, the blog took off more than I ever imagined, and eventually evolved into a full on lifestyle site (which was completely different than how it started). A few years later I had Essley (my first babe), and shortly after that I decided to close the clothing line and work full time on my blog and social media accounts. In the past year and a half, they have become a solid way to support my family. I work a lot, and I work hard, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a really great gig. I get to stay home with my kids and still support them monetarily through creative work. I get to partner with some really great brands. I get some seriously fantastic opportunities for projects and campaigns. There is a lot of work and a lot of reward. I am very grateful.

In times of loss or tragedy, however, I feel torn about how to go about things around here. The weird thing about being an “influencer” (again, not a fan of that term) for a living is that even when you keep the vast majority of your life private (which I do), you want to remain authentic. (Or at least I do, and I know most of my friends in the industry do as well.) Yes, I partner with brands when I tell my stories, but I am always genuine, and I always incorporate my true self. And that makes it really difficult when something really shitty happens in your personal life. Blogs are not journals like they were 10 years ago. But they also aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be, in my opinion) commercials that lack soul or substance. When something like this happens, do I just keep posting and treating this like a job in an effort to be professional, even though my friends and I are heavily grieving? Do I not post at all and just allow myself a break, even if that means risking income my family depends on? Or do I find a place in between, where I am sharing with my followers (who over the years have become friends!) what is going on, and pay tribute to one of the greatest people I ever knew, without getting too personal or crossing a line?

Really, I can’t pinpoint the “right” thing to do when it comes to my weird job in times like these. So I’m just going with my gut. I pushed back some sponsored posts, and some happy-go-lucky posts, because even though this is a job, the most important thing in my life right now is focusing on this great loss, and sending all of my love to the beautiful inside and out wife Marissa, absolutely amazing 2 year old daughter Mika (seen in the photo above), and wonderful parents that Goki left behind when his battle came to an end on Wednesday. Because this isn’t about me or my completely insignificant ramblings about what I should share here. It’s about them. His close friends are really hurting right now, but they are the ones who were really left behind. (I can also confidentially say that Goki would be shaking his head and laughing at me reading this. He always made fun of me for overthinking everything. He was/is a true free spirit. I’m just a wannabe.)

I want to share with you guys something my 4 year old daughter said to me yesterday morning when I woke up: “Mommy, don’t be sad. Goki is fine! When he died yesterday, the universe sent a bubble, and it took him up to the stars, to heaven, and he feels much better. I promise he is so happy! Mika knows this too.” Those were her exact words. And I believe her. He suffered for a long time, and now he is free. If any of your happen to be grieving a loss, I hope her words help you as well.

I’ve been thinking about addressing this subject here for a while, and my mind is so overwhelmed right now that I needed to address it, but I don’t want it to overshadow the main reason I’m posting – and that’s that the world has lost one of the most incredible people I’ve ever known. Goki, thank you for years of adventures together (all over the U.S., Costa Rica, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc. etc. etc.), phone calls that lasted for hours (and always with wine), endless laughs (usually late at night), and for always being so protective of me. I love you forever.

And to all of you, thank you for letting me ramble on with my thoughts, and share pieces of my life and heart here, in between the posts about pretty things and family projects and food and fashion and the things that make life fun but ultimately aren’t nearly as important as relationships and love. In the end, those are the ONLY things that matter.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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5 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Dog Door

Whether you’re just tired of playing doggy doorman or you need a way for your dogs to get outside to potty while you’re at work, you may be looking for a way for your dog to come and go…



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DogTipper

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Happy Birthday America!

A few memes to remind you not everyone enjoys fireworks. So, enjoy your cookout, celebrate with family and friends, but leave your dog at home when you go out to the fireworks display. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Rescue Pup’s Skin Allergies and Digestive Troubles Clear Up After Switching to Halo

Georgina-Lily on Halo dog food

We were so touched to read sweet Georgina Lily’s story about becoming a #halodog! As her mom tells it, when they brought her home from the shelter they gradually transitioned her to a high-end organic, grain free dog food, but poor Georgi broke out in hives and had other bad reactions. They tried many other top-ranked brands with no luck—until they tried Halo! Now, nine months later, Georgina is healthy and happy.

Georgina’s story warmed our hearts, partly because that’s why Halo came to be in the first place. It started with Spot, whose digestive, skin, shedding, and odor problems prompted his mom to look at the ingredients in his food, which she noticed were so different from the food in her own kitchen. Working with a nutritionist she used real, whole foods to create the very first bowl of Halo. Spot recovered beautifully, just like Georgina.

More than 30 years later we are still using the best ingredients to create holistic natural cat food and dog food of uncompromising quality.

  • Halo uses real WHOLE meat, poultry, or fish, and no “meat meal” of ANY kind. When animal protein is rendered into a “meal,” it loses as much as 30% of its digestibility. The more digestible the protein, the more bioavailable it is, which means the more nutrients your pet can utilize.
  • OrigiNative® sourcing means we reject the factory farm model of close confinement, growth hormones, animals raised with antibiotics, and artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • We are committed to non-GMO ingredients. All the fruits and vegetables in halo products are sourced from farmland that prohibits the use of genetically modified seeds.

We are thrilled to know that #georginalilyrescuesuperdog is now a happy #halodog and we love all the work she does to help other shelter pets find forever homes.

Halo Pets

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