Archive of ‘Bits and pieces’ category
Today didn’t have the greatest beginnings. The pants I planned on wearing had a rip in them but I had to wear them anyway and hope nobody noticed because no other pairs were clean. Also, I haven’t purchased a new item of clothing in over two years and I am running low on options. Shiva spent forty-two minutes of our forty-five minute walk sniffing a single clump of snow so I didn’t get the exercise that usually helps me face the day. I was worried about a friend who had to face a pretty scary job interview and my leftover spaghetti lunch spilled out of the container and into my tote bag.
Gripe, gripe, gripe, gripe.
As it is the American Thanksgiving and as I missed out on writing my annual Canadian Thanksgiving post due to indolence, I wanted to take some time today to share my overdue gratitude. Apparently, though, all I can think of right now are the ways things didn’t go right, instead of the countless ways they did.
I mean, my cat and my dog actually shared the same chair! This should thrill me for at least a month!
Which, really, is a general problem of the human brain and the purpose of this day in the first place. Why do we seem to ignore the millions of things that go well, in favour of fixating on the few things that go less well? If there is anyone out there who knows the answer to this, please provide me with the link to your blog yesterday.
Each year I tell myself I am going to cultivate a daily practice of gratitude. Each year I do nothing. I get stuck in the medium, pondering the best way to go about expressing my thankfulness as opposed to just expressing it. Missing the point seems to be a habit with me.
Last January I found this great idea on Pinterest – as one does – that suggested creating a gratitude jar. The image iself was beautiful. A lovely glass vessel decorated with gleaming ribbon and filled with little white notes neatly clipped. It seemed so simple and yet so special. The initial concept was that at the end of year, or in the midst of a particularly rough day, I would pull out the hand-written thoughts and remember how much good there is in the world. It was a brilliant idea, a genuis idea! I instantly fell in love.
But I didn’t budge an inch. Instead I obsessed with finding the right jar and then determined I would never create anything as pretty as what I saw online, deciding to just give up completely. It was too much work. I’ll do it next year. Maybe.
Who can compete with this?
So here I am. December is a sleep or two away and I have done nothing but bitch for eleven months. Again.
It’s ridiculous because the thing is, I have a million things for which I am grateful. The point of the jar isn’t to make something that looks appealing in a photograph. The point is to dedicate a bit of time to feeling positive about my life. It doesn’t matter if it goes in a glass decanter covered in unicorns and sparkles, it only matters if I sit down to acknowledge how lucky I am. There doesn’t even need to be a jar! I can use a shoebox or an old pot or a grocery bag!
Because as much as I complain I am grateful. I am grateful I even have all three of the aforementioned things around to use! The box means I have something to protect my feet, the pot means I have a way to cook dinner, and the bag means I have enough money to purchase food. I am grateful I have a computer that still works enough for me to type this. I am grateful I have a blanket on my lap and a healthy dog beside me and a furnace that supplies heat. These are all amazing things! Stupendous things! Things that should make me dance every morning on my way to the shower!
Well, maybe not dance. With my lack of coordination that early in the morning I am likely to fall down the stairs and throw my whole gratitude thing down with me.
So even though it is only November 28th and not January 1st, even though I don’t have a special jar, or special shiny paper or even a pen that doesn’t leak, I am going to start this thing today. I may have to write my notes on tissues or the back of old pay stubs but hey, I should be grateful I even have a pay stub on which to write! I may not remember to do it every day or even every week but it’s not about ticking off a box on my to-do list. It isn’t even about perfection. It’s about doing something for myself that may one day change my perspective and may even lead to doing some nice things for others.
It begins now.
Dear Startled Dog Park Man,
I am sorry I didn’t feel sorry when my dog tore open your flimsy plastic treat bag. Giggling and shrugging were probably not the most considerate responses to my dog’s stealing all of your dehydrated turkey. I know how expensive that stuff is. I forget that most other dogs have manners and don’t see a Ziploc bag waved in their faces as an invitation to destroy. No doubt it is behaviour for which I should feel ashamed.
Perhaps if you hadn’t rewarded my dog for ignoring my recall I would have felt a bit more apologetic in the moment. I realize you were just being generous, but I would ask in the future that if I am calling my dog away, you don’t stop and give her a treat. Doing so only encourages her begging and makes it harder for me to convince her to leave you alone. It would be like someone throwing one hundred dollar bills at you while your boss yells at you to get back to work. On whom would you focus your attention in that scenario? You really did bring it on yourself.
Again, I am truly sorry I my dog ate all of your treats. I am glad they didn’t make her sick.
Your Fellow Dog Walker
I know you haven’t had an easy time of it lately. I know between the cone and the kennel rest and the harassment from the feline you are probably losing some serious shit. All you want to do is play and run around. But you can’t and it sucks. It sucks for us too. I promise if you keep hanging in there, eventually there will be a time you can do this again:
But all work and no sleep makes for very grumpy humans. I don’t like being grumpy. I don’t like locking you in your kennel at night. So if it’s not too much to ask, could you please, please, please settle down nicely tonight?
The Woman Who Controls Your Food Supply
To the So-Called Dog Lover at the Pet Store,
What may have seemed like a rip-off to you actually made my dog much more comfortable during her time of distress. I don’t care if you thought the flexible blue cone was a waste of money. It was cheap, but still far nicer than the horrible, stiff, plastic thing the vet gave us. I don’t appreciate your rude attitude nor do I appreciate you telling my practically husband that spending money on something that might make our dog’s life a little easier is stupid.
You’re stupid. I hope whatever animal you own never has to wear such a thing but if he or she does, I hope you learn the error of your ways.
Your Former Customer
Dear Food Network Canada,
I admit, I have stopped watching you. There was a time I was your biggest fan. I would gleefully rush home after work to make sure I caught the latest installment of Top Chef Canada. And I loved you even more for Bitchin’ Kitchen. Somehow, though, I got over you. Maybe it was all the unnecessary drama over who made the best appetizer out of vending machine snacks. I can’t say why but I’ve tuned out. Your longtime, hardcore fan no longer is even willing to pay the $3.00 a month to watch your network.
That’s right. I don’t get the Food Network anymore. Haven’t for months.
Wanna know one way to recapture my loyalty?
I have this friend. She has this blog, called Kol’s Notes. If you are worth anything you will have heard of it. She comes up with amazingly creative recipes, like these ginger apple and lamb muttballs or these ingenious shepherd’s pie pupcakes. I mean, seriously. She is the Martha Stewart of dogginess. Do you need any more proof than her most recent holiday concoction? Dog treat filled ornaments! Who does that?
A talented woman, that’s who. If your network is worth anything, it would recognize how booming the pet industry is and leap on that bandwagon. I’d like to suggest Ms. Kolchak Puggle as your first doggy chef. Smart, hilarious, and adorable, she is a guaranteed ratings diva.
Think about it.
A Closet Foodie
Dear Kitty Meister,
Before this becomes a habit, let me make one thing clear to you. No amount of scratching, howling, or shrieking at the treat cupboard is going to get you what you want. It may have worked in the past because you are really annoying when you holler at the top of your lungs but no more!
You may think you deserve sympathy due to your advanced age. You are wrong. Nine years is not that old, my furry friend. You are perfectly healthy. Stop the whole pathetic feline act and stop pretending you are starving when you have a full food bowl and when I know your favourite person gave you a handful of kitty crack less than thirty minutes ago.
It is time for an intervention. If you don’t keep your trap shut, I may decide you need to be weaned off the treats completely. Cold turkey. How do you like them apples?
Your Consolation Human
It is almost the holiday season and that means my new favourite pet blogging event is upon us. That’s correct, it is time for the Pet Blogger Gift Exchange, hosted by none other than Something Wagging This Way Comes and I Still Want More Puppies.
Have you signed up yet? Why not? Better get on it before December 1st rolls around and everyone is having fun and making new friends without you.
C’mon… You know you wanna and I wanna get to know you better! So what’s stopping you?
Your biggest fan,
Your Fellow Pet Blogger
Thank you all very much for your kind inquiries after Shiva’s health. She is alive and well – mostly. I don’t have the energy to share the full story with you yet but I sincerely appreciate your warm concern. It has meant the universe to me to know that other people get it. Co-workers try to understand but unless you have a pet who is your reason for getting up before the sun every day, you’ll never truly understand the trauma.
Quite frankly, all I can think is that Shiva has brilliant timing. In all the years we’ve had her she chooses now, during NaBloPoMo, when I am trying to regain my writing mojo, to get herself into a pathetic situation. Dang animals, they’ve always got to take centre stage, eh?
I might have had four hours of sleep in the last two days, so, if I babble, this is my excuse.
Having never been to an emergency vet before and having never had a dog on two weeks of kennel rest, I am stumbling blindly on unfamiliar ground. This ground is especially tumultuous in that it is paved by a tornado with no sense of self-preservation.
In times like these, I just have to be grateful for lessons learned that are now – finally – paying off.
- Never, ever, underestimate the value of a wicked “stay” cue.
- Kennel training. If you haven’t started it now, get on it. It may not seem necessary, but the crate can be what ensures your dog heals with minimal stress.
- Find your dog’s currency, STAT. You never know when you’ll need a well-placed bribe.
- You might want to keep the address and phone number of your closest 24-hour veterinary clinic on your refrigerator. Googling in a panic is not a good time. Especially when the clinic doesn’t have an address on the main page of its website. What’s up with that, yo?
- Seriously, I can’t over-emphasize the value of a “stay”.
- Find your people. In a brutal moment, when my PH had to leave my side, I was so grateful for my friends who “got it”, who didn’t need me to explain, who just understood that I needed to feel like everything was going to be okay.
- Be prepared to bawl your eyes out in front of the emergency vet. It’s okay. No one is judging you. And if they are, that says more about them than it does about you.
- In stressful moments like these, it can be so easy to forget simple things, like your own name and phone number, let alone the name and number of your veterinarian in a different province on the other side of the country. You might want to have this kind of information on hand in your wallet, just in case.
- “Stay” works. Just make sure your dog has learned “stay”. You won’t regret it.
- Coffee. Always have lots of coffee on hand. You never know when you’ll have to stay up all night with a dog coming down from anaesthesia. It’s not a good time.
Did I miss anything? Have you ever had to make a trip to emergency with your puppy? I’d love to read about your experiences.
Is that were it belongs? Many people I’ve talked to would be thrilled if extendable leashes, such as the infamous Flexi, were outlawed. I gotta say, I have cursed them multiple times myself. It often seems to me that the length of the leash is inversely related to the size of the dog. The tinier the puppy, the further he is away from the human at the other end. Not only does this strike me as dangerous, it’s also really annoying for everyone else on the sidewalk.
Naturally, this is a stereotype. Before I get all sorts of hate mail, I’d better correct myself. There are many wee dogs who are calm on a leash and walk beautifully beside their handlers. There are also many large dogs who tug and yank and scream at the end of a long, extendable line. It’s just the latter don’t get walked very much after their people end up in the hospital due to one too many shoulder dislocations.
One councillor in my municipality has proposed an end to these types of leashes on city streets. As quoted in a CBC news article, he believes:
“The length of the leash allowed dogs to go to further into private yards and defecate and then leave the stuff behind. Also, if it’s too long it allows an unruly dog to be more free to lunge at a person.”
Speaking from personal experience, a dog can lunge and defecate regardless of the length or style of leash.
We actually purchased a retractable leash for Shiva before we even brought her home. My childhood dog used one all the time so it was just another product I assumed we’d need. I thought they were better than boring old 5-foot lines. Most have more comfortable handles and they are advertised as giving dogs more freedom. How could that be a bad thing?
Shiva’s reactivity quickly put an end to that line of thinking. It only took a few episodes before the line snapped and the leash sat at the bottom of a garbage can. I was just grateful said snapping happened in our backyard and not on a city street.
Despite this bad experience, I am not wholly against these tools. Long lines are quite useful for those working on recalls. In the appropriate places at the appropriate times, I see nothing wrong with giving your dog wider space to roam. Many breeds – like beagles, greyhounds, and Siberian huskies – are difficult to trust off-leash. Extendable leashes enable these dogs to enjoy a run without worry. In my opinion, it would be a shame if this was no longer a possibility.
We all have our biases. Most dog walkers are responsible and don’t allow their canine companions to roam aimlessly into the road or on private property. I know when I rant under my breath about the three Chihuahuas yapping at the end of their extendable leashes, that most people who walk small dogs pay much closer attention to their charges. But it still annoys me.
Once more it seems to be a case of the few ruining it for everyone else.
What do you think? Should municipalities place restrictions on the length of leashes? Do you think this is a problem even worth debating?
Blog statistics aren’t something I delve into very often. They usually make me feel icky inside. Numbers have always had that effect on me, really. Ever since I entered ninth grade and encountered trigonometry. And graphs.
Naaaasty. Wasn’t math so much nicer before all that crap? When all one had to do was find the value of x?
Because it’s been a self-esteem-kicking week, I decided I may as well pummel myself down further and dust off the ol’ Google Analytics. Maybe I just needed an excuse to pour myself another glass of wine, I am not sure. Regardless, I logged in and immediately became immersed. It wasn’t the statistics themselves that grabbed my attention, though. I really still could care less about those. It was the common search terms.
Hilarious stuff, truly. If you haven’t checked out yours lately, I highly recommend it for a giggle.
Most of the top ten items on the list made sense. A lot of “rescued insanitys”, “heart dogs”, and “what to buy before getting a dogs.” It stunned me that according to Google the top search term for my website is actually “Rottweilers” and by an enourmous margin. It is something like thirty percent! To this day my most popular post ever written was the one in which I admitted to an instinctive, yet embarrassing fear, of the breed. I hope this means my shame-faced confessions have helped other people conquer their own demons.
Yep, focusing on the positive today.
Many of the other search terms were not nearly so logical. I thought I would share some of the ones that had me raising an eyebrow. The title of this post being number one, here are some of the others on the list:
“Empty bread bag” – This makes me a little sad, actually. I hope these people were able to find some cheer through my silly stories, despite their lack of bread.
“Pimp outfit” – I am sure most of these people were sorely disappointed.
“Cats are evil” – Egads! No! Cats are AWESOME! Awesome, I tell you! Pay no attention to the cat plotting my demise in the shadows…
“Name a breed of dog a man would be embarrassed to admit he’s afraid of” – This is a judgment-free zone. You will not be mocked for your fear of Yorkies here. I promise.
“Picture of elephant’s front feet” – Did you find what you came for? If you didn’t here you go:
“Tim Flach poster” – I am sorry to say I didn’t know who this was until I looked up his name. I am so glad I do now.
“Fort Needham Memorial Park” – Ugh. Worst. Dog Park. Ever.
“Don’t say you ever loved me you always loved yourself” – Yikes. Good luck with that. Sounds like you are better off without.
“Absurd looking dog handlers” – You came to the right place?
Why, yes. I would rather stick a slobbery pouch in my back pocket than wear a fanny pack.
“Breed of dogs with crook at the end of tail” – I believe you are thinking of the Briard.
“If my dog shits in the woods do I have to pick it up” – Yes.
“I fostered kitten now its gone and I miss it” – Awww, that’s sweet. There is an easy solution to that problem, though. Why not foster another?
“Just Say Nana Na Nan Anananaaaana” – You know what? I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Have you come across any interesting search terms for your website? Do share. I always appreciate a reason to laugh.
I’ve been catching up on my Sherlock Holmes reading as of late. It only took me twenty years. One of my favourite fiction genres has always been the mystery novel and yet until the last few months, I never once gave Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a try. Granted, I did most of my mystery reading as a teenager. Back then the lives of older white men understandably held very little interest for me. So far I am enjoying the experience. The books aren’t without problems, of course, and I have some beefs with the point of view, but they make for good reading on a cold winter’s night.
One wouldn’t think a fictional Victorian detective would have anything to do with dogs. One would be wrong. Perhaps it is just proof of my own obsessions but it didn’t take me long before I found a story that relates at least indirectly to my favourite subject.
In The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, there is a tale called “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.” The plot of this story doesn’t matter and I won’t go into detail about that. It was a particular line of thought shared by the title character that caught and held my interest, rather than the narrative. I will quote it exactly:
“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones. And their passing moods may reflect the passing moods of others.”
Naturally, I immediately stopped reading and thought over this concept.
The idea of people’s moods affecting their dogs’ behaviour isn’t new. It is also one I have explored a lot on here. Most trainers and behaviorists agree that our emotions directly impact the emotions of our dogs. This is why I was told to sing a song to myself when walking Shiva in the earlier days of her reactivity. If I could prevent myself from tensing, I could hopefully help her relax as well.
I think what Sherlock Holmes determined in the above quote takes this a step further. And it was written long before dog behaviour was anything scientists studied in any great detail. Insightful, I think, but is it completely accurate?
Shiva is a mostly happy dog: anxious at times, dislikes surprises, values her family life more than anything else. She is adventurous in her appetite and attitude. She is not overly fond of strangers. She has lots of energy but is not ambitious.
Yep, I can relate to that.
What do you think? Does your dog reflect your life?
Congratulations go out to Elyse and Riley, winners of last week’s giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their favourite videos. You made my weekend a lot more adorable than it would have been otherwise. For those that missed it, I highly recommend checking out the comments for this post. Make sure you have some serious time to spare.
If you wait two hours for the bus in freezing rain and then immediately upon returning home, head back out for another hour with your canine buddy… You might be dog crazy.
If you choose the menu for your holiday dinner based on the foods your dog can eat… You might be dog crazy.
If there are more pictures of your dog on your computer, phone, and living room walls than there are of your human family members… You might be dog crazy.
If you automatically sit on the floor when you enter the room to find your dog on your chair… You might be dog crazy.
If you brush stray dog hairs off your dinner plate without skipping a beat and continue enjoying your meal… You might be dog crazy.
If you skip a needed trip to the grocery store and dine on canned peas just so your dog doesn’t have to be alone for five extra minutes… You might be dog crazy.
If your organize your social schedule around your dog’s regular walking times… You might be dog crazy.
If your first thought upon crashing your car isn’t about your safety but about the fact your dog is waiting for you to get home… You might be dog crazy.
If you continue to wear socks with holes in them so you can afford expensive agility training classes… You might be dog crazy.
If you get up at five thirty in the morning every day for three and a half years so your dog can get in her exercise…
You are more than just dog crazy. You are officially insane. And yet I bet you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Got anything to add?
As I am writing this and you are reading it, I think it is safe to say we have all survived the latest Apocalypse. While the Mayans may or may not have been wrong, a part of me is disappointed. It would be cool to live in a bus shelter. That and I was hoping to get out of the credit card bills I’ve accumulated. It’s really too bad.
I got the idea for this post from one of my blogging heroes, Karen Walrond. Last week on 12/12/12 she live photoblogged her day, showing bits and pieces of her experiences throughout a typical day in her life. I instantly wanted to do something like that myself, though my photographs aren’t going to be nearly as gorgeous as Karen’s. I may have missed 12 12 12 but what better day to record for posterity than the End of the World? In the future, it will be fun to come back to this one day of my life to remember what the little details looked like.
I will start with the first pictures I took after waking up this morning. As the day progresses, I’ll keep updating with more shots from my thrilling part of the world. Prepare to be stunned with just how glamorous things are at Shiva’s House of Deluded Dreamers. It’s just like something out of old Hollywood.
Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!
Today’s giveaway is sponsored by the Real Meat Company. Click here to enter to win a prize package of their new freeze-dried real meat dog food and be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!
So I got this email. CBC – or as I like to call it, the Ceeb – (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for those uninitiated in the Great White North) will be airing a documentary in February 2013 titled Dog Dazed. Here is the description from the website:
“ Upbeat and irreverent, including animation from Oscar-nominated Cordell Barker, Dog Dazed explores the craziness, the conflicts and the potential solutions as humans work to integrate these descendants of wolves into our urban life-style without driving them – and our own species – barking mad.”
Sounds pretty cool, right?
That’s not the best part. Here is the best part:
“We are seeking fabulous and funny dog videos for inclusion in the Doc Zone documentary, Dog Dazed. If your dog has a special talent or has been caught on camera in a silly moment, this could be his or her chance for stardom… The top 3 videos, selected by a jury of dog-lovers and by on-line popularity, will be featured on Doc Zone’s Dog Dazed on February 28.”
Yahoo! Finally! This is Shiva’s big chance to make it to television!
Okay, I realize these chances are slim to non-existent. There are a lot of dogs with much more impressive tricks and much sillier antics. It’s probably ridiculous to think she could win. I’ve seen some of the ones entered and they are dang funny. But I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t enter something to the competition, even if there is no hope.
This is where I beg, plead, cajole for your help. I’ve searched through all the videos I’ve already uploaded to Youtube and none of them really stand out to me. The deadline to enter is December 15 so I have a bit of time to come up with something totally off the wall. Do you have any ideas you’d be willing to share? Or do you think any of my previous ones would at least get some attention? I’m feeling a little desperate. I promise if we win (hahahahahahahahaha!) I will make it worth your while! Maybe I’ll even name my second dog after you or… I’ll think of something!
I’ve got eight days to come up with something short, goofy, and never been seen before. No sweat, right?
Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!
Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Chewy.com. Click here to enter to win a gift credit to shop for your favourite dog food, treats, toys & more, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!
The “thump thump thump” of Shiva’s tail against the floor.
The gurgles of the coffee pot just before it is ready in the morning.
The hum of my PH’s car as he pulls into the driveway.
The “munch munch munch” of The Cat as he eats his dinner late at night.
The puff of air brakes as my bus finally pulls up to the stop.
The “mew” of the foster kitten as he looks for his breakfast.
The clink of ice in a glass.
The muted thrum and quiet burst of an orchestra tuning up before a concert.
The giggles of my sister in the dark when it’s just the two of us.
The quiet pat of Shiva’s feet as she runs to catch up.
The vibration of a phone alerting me to a text message from a friend.
The crunch of snow on an early morning walk.
The long sigh Shiva lets out just before she falls asleep on the couch beside me.
The clanging of pots as my PH prepares dinner.
The snapping of a fire, whether at a home or while camping outdoors.
The soft purring of The Cat, in spite of himself.
The “pop” of a cork on a Friday night.
The satisfying tear of wrapping paper as a friend opens my gift to her.
What did I miss?