A Tale of Two Doggies

I have two dogs.  Both of them are wonderfully good dogs with very different personalities.

_dsf4196Midnyte is purely dog.  She’s a lab mix, not too bright, but always ready to play, bringing me slobbery ball after slobbery ball.  At over 14, she slows down a lot faster than she used to, but if I’m ready to play, she’s in… no matter how much she might limp later.

When there are no humans around, she mostly lays or rolls in the grass.  She prefers to be the center of attention, and growls or barks if her sister does anything “against the rules.”  She also can’t stand if Ripley gets any attention whatsoever.  We’ve nicknamed Midnyte the “fun hater,” though it would be more accurate to say she only hates fun if she’s not the one having it.

IMG_1549 - Version 2 – Version 3Ripley, on the other hand, I’m convinced is a human trapped in a dog’s body.  I knew we were in for a unique experience when at just a couple months old, she sat quietly, watching me load the dishwasher, as if she were trying to figure out something not quite understandable to her.  Over the years, she’s repeated that quiet watching many times, on many different things.

We never trained Ripley, but she knew all her basic commands within a week of coming home.  She watched what Midnyte did, and learned everything.  She doesn’t take liberties with a gratuitous lick of anything that doesn’t belong to her, even if it is nose height.  But she also doesn’t learn anything she doesn’t want to.  I’ve tried EVERYTHING to get her to stop jumping on me when I get home.  Whether I’m gone 5 minutes or 5 hours, I get the leap up and whine like a lunatic treatment. Every.  Single.  Time.  She never used to do this to anyone else, though she has recently started it with my husband.

Unsupervised in the yard, Ripley will run or trot around, sniffing the air, carrying a frisbee.  She looks into trees and barks at squirrels who dare to invade her yard.  If she comes up to me, frisbee in her mouth, it’s because she’s checking on me.  She doesn’t want anyone to take her frisbee (or whatever she has in her mouth).  Like a child, she just wants to show it off and be given feedback on how wonderful it is.

Ripley hates to get wet, preferring to hold it as long as possible when it rains, until she shoots outside to do her business as quickly as possible.  There have been times when I’ve dragged her out in the rain on leash, and she huddles miserably, looking up at me with those accusing eyes.  She doesn’t do her business; she just looks beaten.  So, I’ve learned that when it reaches emergency levels, she’ll go out, but not a moment before, and it’s no use trying to make her do anything.

Every dog I’ve ever had has their own unique personality. Each one is the best dog ever.

Like most dog owners, I prefer my dogs to most people I meet.

Feel free to comment with pictures of your own dog(s). 🙂

 

Don’t Judge a Gas Station By Its Murdery Exterior

A few times a year, I drive from Texas to Arizona, and back again. It’s a 14 hour drive total, and I generally do it in two days. Why? you ask. Great question. It’s because my parents live in Arizona, and I go to visit them. Why not fly? you ask. Also a fantastic question. It’s because I have a 14 year old lab mix who is not happy when I leave her behind with my husband. Version 2She likes him well enough… until I go away. So I make the drive with two dogs in tow. Which makes it even more fun.

 

So anyway, I was driving home from Arizona when I realized that the cup of coffee I’d had wasn’t a spectacular idea. I was in the middle of nowhere, praying for a gas station. I was listening to the audiobook of Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan. While the book is great, I was at the part where he was describing poutine. And, I don’t know… for some reason, I had to turn it off. It just added to my torture. When I saw the sign telling me that salvation was in a half mile, I almost cried.

When I got off the exit, I didn’t see the gas station at first. The road bent left, and the first thing I saw was this:

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By this point, even if that had been the gas station, I probably would have gone in. It was like that.

The one I was looking for was right after it, and while it looked better than the abandoned, busted down one, it still looked a little… murdery. There were signs all over about “fresh jerky.” (This is an Arizona thing. Roadside stands are always advertising fresh jerky.) I texted my husband with my location, just in case the jerky was made from the flesh of desperate travelers.

I did my business, and then, wanting a drink, I wandered inside. I know, I know… I never learn, right? The inside had nuts and jerky on shelves along the walls, with handcrafted items in the center. It actually was quite homey. I ended up buying a wind chime (because I love wind chimes). While I was paying, the cashier offered me a sample of jerky. When I declined, she then said, “We have sugar free jerky, in case that’s your concern.” I wasn’t sure what to say to that, except to murmur, “No thanks.”

Do I look like I’m worried about the sugar content of jerky? Was she trying to get me to eat it because it actually contains a sedative, and that’s how they get a fresh supply?

I really liked the place, so the next time I’m traveling that way, I’ll probably stop in. Maybe I’m pushing my luck, but it’s hard to find really nice wind chimes.

Feel Good Friday

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Here’s today’s Friday dose of good news.  As always, it was hard to choose just a handful of articles.  There are lots of good things happening in the world, so pay attention!

Steve became homeless in 2001 after losing his job.  Not long ago, he got a job offer in another state.  Steve had been helping out stray dogs he found, and he wasn’t going to leave any of them behind, so he packed up all 11 in a cart and rode his bicycle, with the dogs, across states to his new job.  A woman spotted him and decided to help him out.  This is the stuff I love.

A young woman saw an older woman eating alone and asked if they could have lunch together.  It turns out that the older woman had just suffered some losses, and was grateful for her new friend.  I love to see people making small differences in the lives of others.

Kids can be amazing.  This 6-year-old’s parents both died, and he got tired of being sad.  So he decided to give small toys away to anyone he encountered who wasn’t smiling.  What a sweet story!

A doctor in Boston started DoctorBeDancing.  Basically, this doctor goes out on the street in his scrubs and white jacket and dances, asking for donations for charity.  He says that he likes the idea that he can help and inspire people, and show that one person can make a difference.  Bravo!

After a photo of a child studying in the dark outside of McDonald’s in the Philippines went viral, McDonald’s stepped up with scholarships for the kiddo, and said that they’re going to do what they can to help out his school.  While it’s great that McDonald’s is helping, the real story here is that this child wasn’t going to let anything stop him from getting an education.

Last but not least, here’s a video of a dog rolling around in a ball pit.  Because nothing says Friday like rolling around  with a wagging tail!

Happy Friday!  And may you have as much fun as a dog in a ball pit this weekend.

Feel Good Friday

Hey everyone, it’s Friday.  But you probably didn’t need me to tell  you that.  😉

Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, Austin TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, Austin TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Restaurant owner posts sign in the window offering people in need a free meal or beverage.

K-9 cop in Mississippi saves his officer’s life after the human officer was attacked.  The officer was able to push a remote to release the K-9 cop from the vehicle.

A woman’s labrador led a police officer to her after she fell unconscious.  The officer was then able to get the woman emergency medical treatment.

Seniors cancel class trip to give money to their principal to pay for her cancer treatment.

New York cop tickets a turnstile jumper on the subway, then helps him find a job.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

My 10 Best Posts of 2014

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The end of the year approaches, and with it, time to wrap up the old and welcome the new.  Here are my 10 favorite posts from 2014.  (Okay, if you actually count them, there are 13.  It’s my lucky number.  So sue me.)

Sedona, AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Sedona, AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Never Enough– Why we’re all great the way we are.

Top 10 Reasons to Go Camping– I think this one is kind of self-explanatory.

10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved to Arizona– Also self-explanatory.

V is for Villains– All about what makes a villain great.

Words Matter-  Why it’s important to be mindful of what you say.

Old Things and Abandoned Places– They whisper to you… can you hear them?

I’m Having A Good Time, And Have The Pictures To Prove It!- Why taking pictures of everything we do might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

I Bet 99% Of You Won’t Repost This– My thoughts on Facebook’s version of the guilt trip/ chain letter.

10 Lessons on Friendship From Dogs– What my dogs have taught me.

Trust Issues- Many people seem to have trust issues, so how do you get past it?

It’s A Loud World– My thoughts after getting my first set of hearing aids.

Wait.  Why Am I Supposed to Care About That Again?– My thoughts on what really matters in life and friendships.

Master Yoda, Is the Dark Side Stronger?– Bullying, Star Wars, and the secret weapon of the light side.

Thanks for stopping by.  Here’s to an excellent 2015!

Feel Good Friday

I believe in an attitude of gratitude.  It’s easy to see the bad stuff in life; heck, none of us even need to work at that one.  But what you see is magnified, and this includes both troubles and blessings.  Which do you want more of?

th-1Lessons in gratitude from the dog.  If you read none of the other links this week, click this one.

Therapy dog help keeps a child with autism safe.

Volunteers pick fruit for food pantry.

9 year old collects 401 pounds of food to give to food banks.

Family gets to listen to their son’s heart live on in a veteran’s chest.

We all get choices.  Either you’re part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem.

10 Lessons on Friendship From Dogs

From left to right: Ripley, my parents' dog Harry, and Midnyte

From left to right: Ripley, my parents’ dog Harry, and Midnyte

It’s a gorgeous Texas day, warm and sunny.  (I’m ignoring the humidity on purpose, hoping that if I pretend it doesn’t exist, I’ll stop sweating.)  The breeze is great though, very refreshing.  It’s a pleasant change form the hot winds in Arizona!

I decided to come outside and write, partly because it’s one of my favorite things to do, and partly so I could play with the dogs.  We play for a few minutes, until my old dog is ready to pass out from panting so hard.  She’d play until she drops, but I’d rather give her breaks and play again.  It works out for both of us; I get up from my laptop, stretch, and take frequent breaks.  She gets to play and hang out for a few hours.

I was brainstorming blogs and this topic came to mind because my dogs really are my best friends.  Even my husband, who was not a dog person when I met him, has come over to the dog side.  Why do we love dogs so much, and why are they such great friends?  I think I have a few of the answers…

1.  Be happy to see one another, no matter how much time has passed, and show it!  People appreciate when you’re happy to see them.  It makes them feel like they’re the only one that matters.  When I get home and my dogs greet me, it automatically lifts my spirits.  I look forward to going home because I know that I’m going to get a dose of joy.

2.  Live in the moment.  It doesn’t matter if your best friend said something mean to you 5 minutes ago.  Let it go.  Friends don’t keep score, and if you can forgive easily, you will feel lighter.  It’s more fun to be happy and pay attention to what’s going on right now.  Now is the best place to be.

3.  Give little treats.  It could be a tiny morsel (like a compliment) or a huge bone (like a gift).  Those treats say “I’m thinking of you.”  Treats show others that we care.  No, they’re not necessary, but who doesn’t like getting treats?

4.  Play together.  Dogs make us laugh when we throw balls for them or watch them splash in the water.  They’re not afraid to be silly.  Be silly with your friends and laugh together.

5.  Don’t focus on the superficial.  My dogs don’t care how much I weigh, how I’m dressed*, how clean the house is, what job I work, etc.  What they care about is who I am to them.  I can be myself and will never judge me.

*The one exception to this is that Ripley gets really excited when I put on yoga pants, as that’s usually what I wear to hike.  She cries and jumps up on me.

6.  Just be there.  When I’m having a bad day and talk about it, my dogs will never interrupt me, never jump in to offer solutions, will never tell me what I should have done.  They just listen without judgement, and give me a lick on the cheek or the hand as if to say, “I’m here for you, and I love you.”  There’s nothing more comfortable than reaching down and feeling a furry body at my side.

"Hi, I'm here!"

“Hi, I’m here!”

7.  Whatever you want, chase with abandon.  Whether it’s a ball or a pesky squirrel, go after it.  It doesn’t matter if you catch it; the fun is in the chase.  Good friends will cheer one another on through that chase and never say, “You can’t do it.”  In fact, they’re probably running by your side with you!

8.  It’s never too late to build a lifelong friendship.  No matter how old they are, if a dog loves you, they love you.  Even if they’ve been abandoned many times before you found them, they will love you if you let them.  They don’t care if you’re old or young; as long as you’re willing to share your space with them, they will be glad to be with you.

9.  When you’re together, give the relationship your attention.  I get frustrated with people when they check their phones or watch the restaurant TVs when we’re together.  My dogs do their own thing when I’m busy.  They go off and think doggy thoughts, watch squirrels or birds, chew up toys, squeak toys, play fetch alone, or bark at other dogs.  But when we’re playing together, they are completely focused on me, and I try to stay focused on them.  Time together is more fun when we’re both engaged.

"Why aren't you paying attention to me?"

“Why aren’t you paying attention to me?”

10.  When someone you love hurts, don’t take “no” for an answer.  Many times, when I’ve had a bad day, Ripley (65 pounds) jumps in my lap and starts kissing me, whether I want her to or not.  She pokes at me with her wet nose and demands to be petted.  Midnyte lays at my feet or puts her head in my lap.  Even if I think I want to be left alone, they won’t.  And I can’t resist them.  Maybe whatever happened didn’t get better, but I feel a little better, and that’s what’s important.

Is your dog your best friend?  What have you learned from your dog?