Wordless Wednesday: Snugglin’ Sisters

DSC_0131I tell Foster Dad alllll the time that I think it should be illegal to be born into the world without a sister. Thankfully, I was blessed with the world’s most awesome brother, but while I’m sure he would kick some booty in my defense, he isn’t exactly into sharing gossip and clothes (although that never stopped me from stealing his hoodies!) Nevertheless, it makes me super happy to see that Georgia and Gaige have got the seester thing down pat.

 

DSC_0132This makes me laugh at rescue groups who have policies against adopting out dogs to families with pets of the same gender… if all groups had that policy, these two would be much more lonely!

Daddy’s Girl

DSC_0139

I talk a lot about the dogs in this space, and a little bit about myself, but I speak even less about the guy who supports it all… otherwise known as J! He is late-night duty doggie dad, the breakfast maker of the house, the car maintenance man, the one who shakes his head and smiles as he supports my wild and crazy dreams and helps me find ways to make them a reality. He is also my strong shoulder to cry on, and the one who never fails to make me laugh. Of all of the people I’ve met in my life, he is the hardest working and most courageous. You will often find him standing up for the underdog and supporting what is right, regardless of whatever scrutiny he might face. He always jumps at the chance to help others. More than that, he faces every day as an opportunity to learn and become a better husband, son, brother, uncle, employee, manager, and friend. He is an amazing person in so many ways, and I don’t know where I would be without him! I am a very lucky girl, and not a day goes by that I don’t say prayers of gratitude for his presence in my life.

IMG_1786

To say that J is a masculine guy would be an understatement. He is most at ease in one of two places; the gym, or the garage. He is happiest when tinkering under the hood of his classic car (a ’67 Camaro, for those of you who are curious) and spends his days managing and problem-solving at a busy local trucking company, when he’s not out on the tractor taking care of his parents’ farm. But bring up his little girl Gaige, and he becomes putty in your hands. That dog has him wrapped around her little paw, and he loves anything that involves her.

And Foster Makes Five012If you ask me, Gaige is our resident trouble-maker. Yes, she is adorable and sweet, but her mischevious side is never far behind. But in J’s eyes, she can do no wrong. She takes a toy from another dog? Oh, she just didn’t know they were playing with it. She runs off in the yard? Well, she just wanted to take herself for a walk. She eats his (Oakley sunglasses, Bose headphones, brand new steel-toed work boots… insert any expensive gift here), and he says it’s just because she smells him and wishes he were there.

walk3

Call him oblivious, say he is in denial… you can’t deny that Gaige means the world to him, and you can’t help but smile when you watch them interact. There is no doubt that J is an excellent ‘dad’ to all of our pups, but Gaige’s entrance into his life was unique. Enjoy some photos of their adventures together, and the special bond they share!

DSC_0015

DSC_0011

Going trucking!

Going trucking!

Farmer's Daughter? Mowing pastures in the John Deere

Farmer’s Daughter? Mowing pastures in the John Deere

“The Best Gift Ever”

You may remember that during our fundraiser, we introduced our readers to the genius and adorable-ness (what? This is my blog… I can make up words if I want!) that is Yellow Brick Home. If not, you can check out the post here.

Yellow Brick Home is a dynamic duo of a husband and wife team. Kim is the artist behind these masterpieces, that feature the mugs of YOUR precious pets. That’s right… utilizing photos of your fur-children, along with detailed descriptions of their personalities and past-times, she creates one-of-a-kind works of art to encapsulate all that you know and love about your pet. Okay, they aren’t exactly cuddly and squeezable, as they are painted on wooden blocks… but seriously people, we are talking minute attention to detail and incredibly intricate work! Painted with whimsical creativity and bright, bold backgrounds, Kim has a knack for capturing the adorable antics that set our pets out from the rest of the pack. Don’t believe me? See what I mean… and try to spot some of your blogging favorites!

03

We… well, I… have been wanting to commission some portraits of our pups for quite some time now. Of course, I was strategically hoping to find a way for this to be a ‘gift’ as well; you know, a two dogs, one bone kinda thing. What better time than Foster Dad’s birthday?!

DSC_0017For budgeting reasons, we chose the smallest size, but you really can’t go wrong with any choice! (They are available in 4×4, 6×6, or 8×8 blocks) We can’t wait to add more to our collection!

This gift was a 100% surprise for Foster Dad… which, if you know me in real life, is so rare. I can’t lie, can’t tell a fib, and certainly can’t resist spoiling a good surprise! I L-O-V-E selecting gifts, about 10x more than I love receiving them. So sometimes the anticipation of giving that perfect gift is just TOO MUCH for me to bare, and I end up letting the dog out of the crate, so to speak. But this time, it was just too good… I may have dropped some hints here and there, but it is safe to say that Foster Dad was legitimately surprised! (Don’t mind the fact that I made him open all of his presents on Friday night, when his birthday wasn’t actually until Monday… that’s just what I like to call stretching out the celebration, people!) He may have even shed a tear or two, but don’t tell him I told you that! Gaige is his little baby, after all.

Of course, what portrait of Gaige would be complete without her big red ball?

I think it’s safe to say that Gaige approves…

Of course, what portrait of Gaige would be complete without her big red ball? And if you look closely, you will even notice the slight white roaning across her back. It’s our girl!

I am telling you… run, don’t walk, over to The Pet Shop to place your order. You will be so glad that you did!

Thank you so so much, Kim! We just adore your work. This will be a treasured keepsake for years to come… J already told me that it is his ‘fire thing’. (You know, the one thing you’d grab if there was a fire and all living beings had been safely removed from the home. How special!) Did I mention that Kim had this to us well BEFORE the estimated delivery date? I told you she was the best…

Less-Words Wednesday: Sharing is Caring!

Because, really, do you ever expect things to be entirely word-less around here??

We choose to feed our dogs in their kennels, in an effort to prevent resource-guarding issues before they start… but it seems like the girls were a bit confused this AM ๐Ÿ˜‰ How do you prevent these issues, or how do you manage dogs who have already developed tendencies to guard toys or food or people?

photo 4

PS- Please do not judge our mess! We are remodeling the basement, which is where our dog kennels and food are usually kept. It’s made for a pretty cramped bed room! But stay tuned, we will share some photos of the upgrades in the weeks to come. It will be a new and improved dog room (and laundry room, but who cares about that??)

(For Real this Time) Wordless Wednesday

DSC_0015

 

Gotcha! Come on now, you didn’t actually believe I could do it, did ya?? For the record, the photo above was not AT ALL staged. J was truly asleep after a long day at work and late night at the gym, and of course, one of the dogs just had to take advantage of the opportunity (ahem, Geege).

We still have a lot of cold and mud and snow around here. I am MAJORLY lacking in the creativity/inspiration department. Could you help a lady out?? Come on, share some wisdom… what topics should we discuss on the blog? Anything specific you’re just dying to know about our pack? What issues are you facing with your own dogs? SPILL. (please) Good dog reader ๐Ÿ˜‰

Why Dogs?

Why dogs? What is it about these furry, funny creatures that can capture our hearts and change our lives? We (I use this term loosely!) dress our dogs up, afford them the best of medical care, take them to meet Santa Paws, provide them with quality organic food, and even throw them birthday parties… in the last 15 years, the US jumped from $17 billion to $43 billion in the amount of money we spend on our pets.

But if you are reading this blog, it is safe to say that you probably agree that loving our dogs is not all about the money. In fact, the financial ‘investment’ is probably the furthest thing from most of our minds. Loving our dogs is about loyalty and companionship, entertainment and comfort. But, the question remains: why dogs? Why not pigs or horses, or even inanimate items that constitute hobbies… trucks, fishing poles, etc?

Is it the way they love? Unapologetically and without restraint. Tongues flying, paws prancing and scrambling, they want to get as close to us as possible. They rest their heavy heads on our knees, as their deep eyes look into our own, expressing what their mouths cannot. Scientists may argue that this ‘adoration’ is simply an appropriate appreciation of resources, and acknowledgement of the vessels that provide them (ie: we bring home the bacon). However, I argue that all dog lovers know the difference between a friend’s dog, staring longingly into our eyes while we nom down on a burger, and our own dog’s adoring glances when we’ve been away for an extended any amount of time. Not to mention, what about when that loyalty extends to those members of the family who are not the ‘pack leaders’? Many new parents discover a new found love for their dogs, once two-legged puppies enter the scene. When properly introduced, dogs can take on a role that is fiercely protective of the children in their family, who have no resources to offer in exchange. Many adults will look back on their childhood most fondly when recalling memories that highlight their family dogs. Perhaps even more noteworthy, is the fact that dogs who have been socialized appropriately may display affection toward other (prey?) animals in the house, be it dogs, cats, and even bunnies.

Via tumblr

Via tumblr

Perhaps it is their zest for life, their passion, if you will. Watching a dog run and tumble in hot pursuit of a bouncing ball, or dashing and splashing their way into a cool pond is enough to bring a smile to even the most cynical among us. They bring a uniquely lighthearted intensity and exhuberance to everything they pursuit, be it chasing birds, stealing food from the table or hard-core napping. For many dogs, even training can be fun, and our pups respond almost as if they want to help us learn!

DSC_0050

Is it their obedience? It can’t be that, because Gaige doesn’t have an obedient bone in her body, and yet still, she is the apple of her dad’s our eyes! In fact, it is sometimes in her contrary disobedience that we are nevertheless able to so clearly see the depth of our affections for her.

Perhaps it is their honesty. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a dog with a particularly good poker face. Even with three pups in our house, if I walk in to a plate pulled off of the counter (Georgia) or a chewed shoe (Gaige), their guilty mugs identify the perpetrator almost immediately. Even more worthwhile are their honest evaluations of the people they encounter in their environments. I will trust Tonka’s perceptions of character over any reference or compliment I hear, because his reservations have never once been wrong.

My boys <3

My boys โค

We cannot forgot the dog’s intelligence. Sometimes during a particularly intense training session, it seems as if Georgia’s mind is working so hard, I can actually see the lightbulbs flickering and eventually turning all the way on. Dogs are intelligent creatures, but more than the way they learn, is what they perceive. They seem to possess a wisdom far beyond their years, and hold the secrets to some of life’s most lingering questions. The greatest lessons I’ve learned in life, have come from my dog.

You have to give dogs points for their patience, which I must admit, is commendable if for no other reason than that most of us don’t possess much of this attribute ourselves. This trait is visible not just when it comes to begging endlessly for food. Our dogs spend their lives waiting for us… waiting for us to come home, waiting for us to understand their requests, waiting for us to broaden their environment to walks and adventures. They wait for us, not with frustration or annoyance, but with an unbridled joy when we finally return, get it, or explore.ย Another trait that humans should envy is the innate confidenceย that many dogs possess, which is admirable because it often exists regardless of physical stature or athletic abilities. The tiny Chihuahua isn’t afraid to yap at the massive Dane, and the diminutive Corgi doesn’t hesitate to dive head-first into the water.

I think my favorite canine trait is loyalty, which I believe to be different than love. No matter how the days pass, full of activity and outdoor romps, or spent lazily indoors, our dogs greet us with the same frivolity, regard us with the same adoration, and protect us with the same courage. They forgive us when we are unclear or inconsistent, and are always looking toward the future. Although our dogs have memories, or at least recollections, that allow them to recall where they hid their favorite toys or just why they hate the bath tub, they are quick to forget our mistakes and flaws.

IMG_0046

You may most admire their companionship and observance (and I’m not just referring to the squirrels outside the window) by they way they move with you through the house, shadowing your steps in and out of rooms, never letting you out of their sight for more than a few minutes at a time (unfortunately, even when it comes to the bathroom!). Again, cynics may suggest that this behavior is simply a creature being on the alert, anticipating the possibility of potential rewards such as outdoor romps or surprise snacks. I prefer the belief that my dogs can’t bear to let me out of their sight. For our dogs, not only must they keep an eye on us, but they prefer to be physically touching us: laying on our feet, nestled against our body, or heads resting on our hands. They romp through the woods, running far ahead, but occasionally turning back to us for a quick pat on the head, seemingly reassured by our presence. Not to mention, what person do you know that would be happy to go along for a car ride with you, no matter the destination or length, just content to be by your side?

Dogs are endlessly resilient and courageous. To meet Georgia is to know nothing of the neglectful past she has endured, and the same can be said for so many dogs who have experienced trauma and violence. Their courage is impressive, seen time and again in stories of devoted dogs laying down their lives to defend their ย family members. The next time you roll your eyes or yell as your dog barks ferociously at the door, take a second to analyze that act. Sure, it could be a hyper-active overreaction to the mailman. At the same time, how many of our dogs would valiantly defend us with everything they have? I know I would be my own life on mine…

Those of us who work with rescued dogs, who may have seen horrors we cannot imagine, may point out that not all dogs exemplify this list. Certainly, some dogs become withdrawn from play, and are hesitant to embrace the environment around them, etc. But somewhere inside of these dogs, is a little soul that yearns to be cuddled and protected. In spite of their fears, in their hearts lies a fighting spirit that enabled them to endure their tragic past. It may take time for traumatized animals to come back to their natural state, and maybe some won’t ever recover completely, but I believe that this list describes what we all know to be the essential Man’s Best Friend .ย Sure, there are some quirky dogs that just don’t fit these stereotypical tendencies… and yet their owners love them all the more for it! The dogs that are ornery, difficult, and aloof can sometimes inspire the most devoted companionship out of us.

At the end of the day, I think most of us can agree that the reasons and the depth of loving our dogs are one of the few things in life that defy words, and travel just out of the grasp of language. Nevertheless, we try. So tell me: what is it about dogs, or perhaps your dog in particular, that you are over-the-moon about, and just can’t get enough of? There just might be a giveaway in exchange for your answer! (But I’ll choose to believe that you would answer even without the bribe ๐Ÿ˜‰ )