A wonderful visit from an old friend

Hello friends,

You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear who my newest boarder is. So without further ado, meet Richard (aka – Great News: Part 2) !

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Richard is Newton’s brother, former play buddy and identical personality twin. Newton was boarded at his house when we traveled. When his owner asked me to board him for a week or two, I tried to hold back tears. I couldn’t.

They were tears of happiness.

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Couch snuggles were followed by vacuuming furry tumbleweeds….

If I’m being honest – our house feels like a home again  with a Bernese visitor in it. I love all of my boarders, but this one is obviously a bit  more emotional for me.

“There’s something about being greeted at the door by a giant black and white panda bear, full of fur and drool, that warms my heart.”

I see Richard, and am reminded of Newton – This time in a positive light. Great memories pour in as I enjoy my time with him. I am reminded of why I fell in love with Newton in the first place, and also the breed. Those big goofy eyes, giant paws and furry faces exude love.  What better therapy is there then that?

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Newton with his Berner family. See Richard and Newton together on the far left!

You should my other two little fur kids faces!. It was like Christmas morning when Richard breezed through the house. Frankie and Stewart were greeted with “cat baths” from him, which Stewart begrudgingly accepted and Frankie loved (and now receives a few times a day). Now Frank “the Tank” has turned into Richard’s shadow, which I find amazingly adorable.

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Besties

I honestly wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but happy we were open to the opportunity. I’ve found comfort and joy in being around other dogs (fostering, boarding and training can be healthy and healing – when you’re ready!). It makes me aware that a new addition would not take the place of Newton in our hearts, as we have room for more. I wasn’t convinced of that a week ago.

I continue to miss Newton every single day, which I don’t expect to change. Grief, after all, does not have an expiration date.

My advice if you’re feeling down? Find a cool pup that enjoys a snuggle or two.

A huge thanks to Richards parents for entrusting us for the next little while with this wonderful fur kid, stay tuned for more pics and posts to come 🙂

Dailyspro

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Great News: Part 1

Dear friends,

I promised great news. Here it is.

We’re happy to welcome a new baby (human) into our lives. On top of it, my Mr. and I are Auntie/Uncle AND God-parents to Miss. S. This is MEGA! She is the first niece/nephew/god child/grandchild in either of our families. Spoiled? Oh yes, we can’t wait to 🙂

Most of you know I prefer kiddos of the four legged kind. However, this little lady is pretty special, and has made me include her into my new “faves”.

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Yep, I’m going to spoil her rotten!
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Checking out the new Uncle
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My sister and Miss S. A proud mama bear!

Since I shared this great news with you, I’ll also my first letter to Miss S. I’ll be writing her a letter, every year on her birthday, and then sending them all to her altogether when she turns 19. Or old enough to appreciate them, whichever comes first.

My first letter to my god-child and niece.

Miss S.,

You have no idea how much you are loved, and will be loved in your lifetime. I just left the hospital, where we met for the first time.

You have all of your uncles, aunties, grandparents and yes – of course your parents wrapped around your tiny fingers.

You have no idea how many times in this lifetime you will hear words of support come from our mouths, how many times our hands will heal your broken pieces, your cuts and scrapes and unfortunately at one point – even your heart.

We are a family of dog and animal lovers, advocates and protectors. They have taught us the value of patience, love and loyalty. Our furry friends have helped reinforce the value of “great” family. They have helped ready us for you.

I won’t always be able to always understand your thoughts or agree entirely with your choices. However, I do promise to always listen and hear you out regardless. I promise to be a present and constant figure in your life. Your Mom and Dad will always be there for you, and when you feel they’re not – know they, and the army behind them, will be there for you as well.

Miss S.- Let me say now, you have the best parents in the world. I can’t imagine anyone that will love you more. I know you will inherit the best of both of them. Your mother’s tenacity and passion, your father’s never-ending supply of patience.

Know we are a forever kind of family, and we welcome you with open arms.

Love,

Auntie A

Thanks for reading – Stay tuned for Great News: Part 2 coming at cha’ next week!

Dailyspro

Confessions of a doggie mama

There’s something to be said about being a doggie mama.

It’s an identity.

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Disclaimer

I can’t tell you how many times someone has remembered me because of my dog. I know they have no hope of ever remembering my name.. but my dog? Always! My feelings weren’t hurt. I’d prefer him too – look at that FACE!

I adored being “Newton’s mom”. The name itself implied an ownership and and truly personal relationship – meaning I was his, and he was mine. How much better does it get then that?

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Me with my beloved fur-kid Newton. Who left us much too early.

The same is said in reverse. I know most of dogs around our neighborhood by sight, I’d probably know most of their names and MIGHT even know which house they belong to. However, to tell you the names of their humans could be a downright impossible task if I was ever asked. I’d cheat and look for the last name on their mailbox and then add a Mr or Mrs in front of it – cheating?? Never 🙂

I have a few friends that do not understand this reference to “Doggie mama”, “Fur-child”, “Grand-puppies” and “fur-babies”. They don’t believe in the wonderful world of doggie daycare, socialization or playdates for creatures with four legs. They automatically raise their hackles and call me out on it. I don’t fight them on it – but really why can’t I be considered a doggie mama? I don’t fully understand this nerve that I’ve hit – maybe because I don’t have kids? I do have friends who have kids and adore their dogs – and even have said in the past – “I have 5 kids, whether they have two or four legs is irrelevant”. Love this gal.

So in trying to get to the root of the issue as it’s hard for me to see the other side – Is it because I’m putting my dog on the same level as their child by putting them in the same category as “child”? I’m not trying to say that raising a dog is exactly like raising a child. There are MANY differences, I get it.  There are also similarities too. Gone are the days where a dog is JUST a dog. Taking into consideration what being a mother means, why can’t we call ourselves “mamas” or “papas”?  It is indeed a giant job, a huge undertaking that I know all of you understand. When you decide to bring a dog into your life, It’s a vast spectrum encompassing love, patience and understanding. Why can’t you be considered a mama if it’s in reference to rearing a dog?

To me a mother is the woman who raises you, who is there for you to comfort you when you are sick or hurt, the woman who laughs with you, who cries with you, who loves you, even when you aren’t exactly lovable and forget all the hours, days and weeks of training. I’d do all of these things for my dog, again and again. In the end, as a dog mama or papa we ultimately have to make the toughest final decision of all, and place their needs leaps and bounds beyond our own.

I love this from timeformom-Me.com:

“There are many definitions of the word mother, and many are applicable. Only those with “closed eyes” can’t see that there are many meanings to “mother.” A person who gives birth is a mother. A person who raises a child is mother. A person who loves and cares for a child is a mother…etc. Mother Theresa was a “mother” to thousands of poor children. It is not an all-or-nothing word….it is a spectrum.”

As most of you know, I love being around dogs, but there’s just something about being a doggie mama that really feels right. Nothing quite prepares you for the first burst of pride when your dog is FINALLY behaving out in public and someone compliments you on your dog. Or you see your dog land a trick you’ve been training for OR you see your dog do something that’s amazingly sweet and unscripted – like this:

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Photo credit: Norma Jean Worden-Rogers
Newton winning over the crowd during a wedding we attended.

It’s something I feel only a parent can feel – whether it has two or four legs is, as a friend said, is irrelevant.

Parental pride and love, people, is a thing of beauty.

Enjoy being a doggie mama (or papa), as it goes by all too fast. I can’t wait to become a doggie mama again – I might just get it embroidered on a sweater 🙂

Cheers,

Dailyspro

It all starts with the walk…

Hello friends,

My newest boarder, Kobe, has inspired my post today!

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Working on the old sit stay!

Working with other people’s dogs and SPCA dogs has given me an entirely different perspective on training!

I go back to basics with every single one of them. It all starts with the walk. I think if you train a dog to walk on HEEL, no less in the great big world of distractions (Squirrels, other beautiful pups and ohhh the smells!), you’re in a fantastic space with your furry friend.

My new friend Kobe did not walk on heel, he walked out in front of me when he first came to stay with us – pulling, tugging – smelling EVERYTHING. We’ve been working on this, and I am amazed at his progress! We went for a walk in a public park and he stayed on heel with me almost the entire way. I’m so proud of his accomplishments. Whether his mom keeps this up or not, I think it’s wonderful to show owners (and potential owners) what their dogs are capable of!

Kobe also had an aversion to the car. What I’ve found out is that it’s not an aversion so much as laziness on his part AND wonderful training of his humans. Smart move Kobe.

He would get his front feet in and then turn around to his human (or me) and say – “ok lift me in”. I laughed the first time I saw it. This is what my Newton would do as well. He had me trained down pat too!

With a new outlook, I thought – “let’s see what he can do”. I repositioned the lead to pulling up just slightly, pointed and said “up”. He jumped in the back seat without issues – and was awarded with affection and LOTS of praise! Then he did it again, and again, and again…

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Good boy Kobe!

I must confess my training with the SPCA has helped me tremendously. However, I’d also like to bring up somewhat of a controversial topic in training – Cesar Milan. Some of you love him, some of you hate him. Regardless of how you may feel about his training techniques – I’ve used some of them (below) with my new friend Kobe with AMAZING results.

– Maintaining a calm and assertive energy – this is the hard one.

– No rewarding unless the dog is in a calm and submissive state

– Practicing expectations and boundaries consistently every day.

More importantly, his theory that it all starts with the walk.

A walk can be a beautiful experience, marred too many times by frustration at dogs’ pulling, lunging and non stop tugging. We do a lot of our training after exerting Kobe’s energy on our hour long walk. He’s a nervous dog, so this has worked well for him. However, the walk is training too, and it starts by ensuring he’s calm when we put the leash on him (The first time – this took almost 20 mins), then we walk out the door first, followed by Kobe.

All basics, that I sometimes forget how important they are – it starts at the beginning. A few simple reminders for Kobe to walk beside, not in front and we’re off!

I found this video by Nigel Reed also helpful – It teaches step by step how to teach a dog to walk on heel. I’ve used the “Start, stop and change direction” technique many times – it works people!

I found after practicing some of Cesar’s techniques on the walk, Kobe gave me more respect with his other training. He’s extremely smart, thus should only be reminded once of his boundaries. Kobe had some bad habits, which is fine if his owner doesn’t mind them. In my house, it’s not ok. There are rules that all our furry friends and visitors must abide by.

Further evidence that I’ve seen of Cesar’s training techniques working is from my sister.

My sister has had aggression issues between her two Great Pyrenees. They get nervous when someone visits the house, which leads to aggression between them. Cesar’s tip for people entering the house – no touch, no talk, no eye contact to the dogs has been one that has worked remarkable for her, and for her dogs.  They do not get as excitable, which doesn’t escalate to an aggressive state of mind.

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Sit stay = treats? Why didn’t I know this sooner?

I love learning from our canine friends! Training them teaches me patience and consistency, which is always a great reminder to take with us wherever we walk next in life.

Further, teaching the canine basics has given me a purpose with dogs again. It’s been a long road in the last 3 months, and this gives me something to look forward to. Hanging with dogs for me is soothing for the soul. I’ve been bringing family members and friends on my dog walking excursions to the SPCA. Every time – they leave with smiles and excited conversations of a great day spent. If your stressed with life, go play with some puppies or even better – calm yourself down (never approach a dog with anger) and see if you’re able to take a rescue dog for a walk!

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This training is tiring work!

Thanks for reading,

Dailyspro

ps – My friend Miss Harper Lee reminded me that dogs are generally happy go lucky and want to please. I agree!! I think this is the perfect example of how humans usually need the training! I just checked out my Milanisms -I noted all things I need to do 🙂 After all, dogs already know how to walk – we just have to learn how to walk them.