Wordless Wednesday: Bluebonnet Season!

It’s bluebonnet season in Central Texas! Snapping a photo in the fragrant fields is a Texas tradition–and one that includes ALL the members of the family, both two- and four-legged….



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DogTipper

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Win a #WestPawGo Collar and Leash Set!

Last month, we told you about West Paw’s new Strolls™ Collection and Jaunts™ Collection. We tried out the Jaunts collar and leash set, a waterproof solution for our trips to the lake and beach! Now…



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DogTipper

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Socializing Your Puppy: Meeting Something Scary

As I mentioned last week, we’re busy socializing our new puppy Bärli with a long list of activities and experiences to enjoy with him. We’re working on exposing him to many types of…



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DogTipper

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I believe this project actually helps educate peop…

I believe this project actually helps educate people on both pitbulls and "wolfdogs" by reducing overbreeding and showing how wonderful blockheads can be as mentor dogs. Good work.
BAD RAP Blog

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Opossums aren’t geniuses, but you don’t have to be one to thrive

I hate biology by Facebook meme. We’re living in a time of great natural history illiteracy, but we’re also living at a time in which people want to respect and learn about nature.

Virginia opossums are one of the most common species in the United States. They fit nicely in suburbia, and they are quite often encountered.

They are not cute, at least by conventional standards of cuteness, and when you encounter them, they stand with their mouths open in a gape threat display. They usually drool and generally look nasty.

So well-meaning people have tried to make the opossum look good, and in doing so, they have decided to bullshit people.

Bullshitting about any animal is a bad conservation strategy.

One common statement is that “many studies” or “a study” have shown that opossums are smarter than dogs and cats.

I had to hunt to find that citation! You’d think that such a groundbreaking discovery would be all over the clickbait science press, but no, it’s actually rather obscure study.

It was a study that was performed in the 1950s using the Fink arrow maze. It is really just a test to see if an animal can remember where it was fed before.  The researcher who did the research was a W.T. James, and he performed some other studies on the species, which did not show such a marked ability among the opossums. They are capable of learning.

Other researchers looked into the opossum’s intelligence and have generally found it lacking. Indeed, a 1965 study revealed that opossums were much worse than rats at learning how to follow a maze.

The 1950s study is the only one that compared dogs and opossums, and we live in a time in which a new cognitive study on dogs is released every month or so. Dogs are pretty intelligent animals. They have evolved some cognitive shortcuts that have allowed them to live in close concert with humans and to learn from humans.

So you have one study that shows opossums are more intelligent than dogs and you think that is worth posting on a Facebook meme?

It’s bullshitting people.

The truth is opossums don’t have to be smart to be successful. What makes them successful are two simple things: they reproduce rapidly and they will eat virtually anything.

They also can live their whole lives next to people and never really bother anything. Opossums are far less obnoxious to have around than raccoons are.  Raccoons tear things up. They open up garbage bins. They den in chimneys. They kill cats and eat their food.

A raccoon is an intelligent animal. They know how to open up chicken coops and eat all the chickens. They know how to open up gates and get into cornfields.

An opossum will just trundle around and not cause too much trouble.

It works for them.

And yes, they eat ticks and can prevent the spread of Lyme disease.

But they aren’t smarter than super social carnivorans.

So when you see these memes posted on Facebook about how wonderful opossums are, keep in mind that the claim about opossum intelligence being greater than dogs comes from a single study.

It’s bullshitting people. This study is useful, but it’s 60 years old. And no one has attempted to replicate it or tried to draw deeper meaning in the general comparison of cognitive abilities between dogs and opossums.

So yeah, one study. Interesting discovery, but it hasn’t been replicated. Also it doesn’t match what else we know about the two species.

It’s just one of those things you run across in a literature review and wonder about.

A much better understanding of opossums is they are primitive mammals. I don’t mean that they are inferior in this sense. I mean that they very similar to the first mammals that ever existed, and they have retained these primitive, generalized traits for tens of millions years.

That’s pretty amazing.

And it’s not bullshitting people.

Natural History

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10 Last-Minute Easter Basket Filler Ideas

Last-Minute Easter Basket Filler Ideas

I love holidays – especially now that I have kids – but I tend to prepare for them later than I probably should. In fact, I just remembered yesterday that Easter is this Sunday. Oops. Never fear though, fellow last-minute bunnies. I have compiled a list of fun Easter basket fillers you can easily grab at a local store, via Amazon Prime (my go-to), or even around your house that will make your little ones’ basket as full of joy as if you’d planned way ahead.

1. Eco-Friendly Easter Grass I remember finding pieces of plastic Easter grass under the sofa in, like, October as a child. I also cringe at the thought of how much of that stuff sits in landfills. You can get biodegradable or recycled paper Easter grass at Target, on Amazon Prime, or at most local shops, or if you have a paper shredder, make it yourself. If you’re really running behind, crumbled tissue paper looks really pretty too.

2. Books This is another item you can grab last minute almost anywhere (even grocery stores have kids’ books these days). I like to use spring-themed books. This one is a current favorite around here.

3. Movies If you don’t have time to order a DVD or BlueRay, or to run to the store to grab one, buy one for immediate download (like I did for Coco and will also be doing for Ferdinand), print out a picture of the movie, and put that in the basket.

4. Bunny Ears I got the set you see Essley wearing in the photo above at Target last year, but they’re available in all sorts of shops this time of year. Or if it’s the night before and you have a headband and some cardstock and tape, you can easily make your own. (Runner up: a bunny stuffed animal. Also very easy to find in stores right now.)

5. Stickers This is another item you can find almost anywhere. We loved these reusable Easter stickers.

6. Fruit I always throw an apple or banana in my kids’ Easter baskets, depending on what we have on hand. And surprisingly, despite the candy that accompanies it, they love it. And you can’t get any easier.

7. Sunglasses I love gifts that are easy and practical! You can find sunglasses in most stores this time of year because the spring lines have just launched. I just got this adorable pair of cat eye sunnies for Essley at Target.

8. Money My kids love the idea of saving money in their piggy banks, and when they get a dollar, they are beyond stoked. I usually roll up a dollar bill and tie it with ribbon for their baskets. Easiest gift ever.

9. Easter Candy Duh. There are only a few times a year my kids get to sugar binge, and there really isn’t an easier last minute gift to grab.

10. The Basket! Okay, so this isn’t a filler idea, but it is necessary, so I’m including it. It’s really easy to get creative with this even if you’re really behind. When I was a kid, my parents always used unusable objects for Easter baskets that we could reuse. My favorite (that I still have and now use for my mail) was a vintage hat box with bears dancing on it. You probably have baskets or containers you’re not using at home that would work well. Or some of my favorite places to buy Easter baskets are Personal Creations (as seen in image above), Target, and Pottery Barn Kids.

If you have any other great ideas for easy, last-minute Easter basket goodies, I’d love to hear them!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Win an #IsleofDogs Prize Pack! #Giveaway

We’ve got a special giveaway of interest to movie-loving dog lovers! Enter to win a special ISLE OF DOGS movie prize pack to celebrate the release of this new stop-motion-animated film from…



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DogTipper

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United Airlines has not had a good month, or year, for canine public relations

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Bathroom Help

Now that I only have one dog and (gulp) five cats, it’s much more common for me to get help with my toileting needs from the feline contingent. The dog is getting so old, she just stays on the couch and waits for me to come back to her. Until next time, Good day, and […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Paint Love: Dark Blue Walls

Dark Blue Walls

We’ve been in our new home for two months now, and we’ve officially gotten one whole room painted (Essley’s). To be fair, Robbie has been on the road a lot of this year so far, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to for us to work together on this place. That certainly hasn’t stopped us from planning through. The paint colors in this space aren’t terrible, and the old owners did a really nice job in terms of painting well. Right now we’ve got beige front rooms, a dusty blue-grey living room, yellow hallways, and a mustard-beige color in the kitchen. And they look fine, but they’re not our particular style. In terms of paint, we actually want to eventually redo most of the house – the master bedroom is the only room that came in a color we would have chosen for it.

Now because I know us, I can confidently say that most of our walls will probably end up grey. But I want to make at least some of them something different. I love the way all white spaces look, and probably will paint over the beige in the front rooms with a bright white, but I see trends moving away from that and toward more moody colors. And the one that I find myself falling more and more in love with is deep, dark blue. So today, I thought I’d share some of the spaces painted in this color that are inspiring me right now.

Dark Blue Walls
Dark Blue Walls
Dark Blue Walls
Dark Blue Walls
Dark Blue Walls
Dark Blue Walls
Dark Blue Walls

I generally prefer light, airy rooms, but there is something so inviting about a deep blue wall (or walls). And I feel like it goes with most other colors, almost like a neutral.

What is your favorite wall color? Are you a fan of dark blue walls? (You can see other spaces that have inspired me in our Moving Inspiration series.)

IMAGES FROM TOP:  1. Domino  |  2. Around The Houses  |  3. In Honor of Design (my beautiful friend Anna’s gorgeous shared boys’ room)  |  4. Apartment Therapy  |  5. Around The Houses  | 6. Emily Henderson   |  7. Marie Flanigan Interiors  |  8. Found on Pinterest; anyone know original source?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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