Edmonton: The City of Pet Lovers

Edmonton? You ask. Isn’t it in Canada? Isn’t it cold there for nine months of the year? Who wants to go there? The short answers to these questions are: yes, well… yes, and YOU want to go. Or you will, once you have finished reading this post. Once I am through with you, you will not only rush to cast your vote for the largest city north of the 53rd parallel in Go Pet Friendly’s Annual Tournament, you will also be rushing your dog to the car to make the drive up here.

Does this really look like the land of ice and snow?

Does this really look like the land of ice and snow?

Not too long ago, I would have shared your disbelief. Edmonton is in Alberta – despite spending 15 years of my life here, the prairie province is not my favourite place. I envisioned a lot of sky and a lot of brown grass and not much else. As you can see from the picture above, this vision was very wrong.

However, there was another, more serious reason to avoid the home of North America’s largest mall. Not too long ago, Edmonton’s by-laws contained a nasty little feature, anathema to all true dog-lovers: B.S.L.

Shiva and BenchYeah… Not good. Though pit bull type dogs were never disallowed within city limits, before October 17, 2012 they were considered a “restricted breed” and had to be muzzled in public, along with a whole bunch of other ridiculous regulations. When these laws were in place, there was no way I would have considered moving here with Shiva. It was just too big of a risk.

But all this changed in the fall of 2012. After years of campaigning by a supportive and dog-loving community, Edmonton City Council voted to abolish all legislation specific to certain breeds or appearance of breeds. The animal control by-laws are now much more reasonable and fair and welcome dogs of all shapes, sizes, and heads. I consider this a huge point in the city’s favour. After all, it was the community that made this happen. The people and organizations who made it clear they did not support such discriminatory laws. If the movement hadn’t been so strong and so logical, the council would never have voted to chuck the laws out. This tells me Edmonton is a city with its priorities straight.

Edmonton may be known as the City of Champions but I think it should be known as the City that Loves its Pets.

There are dogs everywhere in this city, you never know when you are going to see one

There are dogs everywhere in this city, you never know when you are going to see one

Here is an even better example of dog love:

Shiva is a bit of a bratface. She can be a bit obnoxious on a leash, especially when encountering strangers who stare her down or other dogs who do the same. Despite this, despite her trying to leap on the backs of neighbourhood joggers, I have yet to face a negative reaction to her behaviour. The people here seem to understand that dogs are dogs and sometimes they do rude things. No one has yelled at me for Shiva urinating on a bush on public property – which happened several times in Halifax  – and when Shiva loses her cool at the end of her leash, the other dog owners often apologize to me.

Now that is class.

Is that not enough to send you voting? It looks like I am going to have to get to the quick and the dirty.

Wild Earth1. Edmonton is home to many wonderful patios that welcome dogs with open arms. This local bakery several blocks up from our house is just one example. In warmer weather, just several days ago in fact, the brick path is covered in tables and chairs where dogs are invited to join their handlers in a freshly-baked lunch. The counter has a basket of dog cookies by the till and the staff members are so friendly, one of them even agreed to watch Shiva while my PH nipped inside for a coffee. She also didn’t hesitate to sneak our puppy a cinnamon twist while they waited. How is that for service?

2. Dog parks. Edmonton has 41 off leash spaces within city limits. 41! I mean, really, you’ll never run out of options, no matter where you are.

3. Edmonton’s Downtown Farmer’s Market moves outside from late spring to mid-fall and is completely pet friendly. One of my favourite things to do during the warmer months is browse for yummy local snacks while breed-spotting at the market.

015

4. Edmonton is within driving distance of six – six! – of Canada’s gorgeous National Parks, all of which are pet friendly. From Jasper to Elk Island to Waterton Lakes, there is no shortage of extravagant scenery or mountain trails to explore with your canine pal.

So this photo was taken in the Crowsnest Pass, still in Alberta, still only a drive from Edmonton

So this photo was taken in the Crowsnest Pass, still in Alberta, still only a drive from Edmonton, still stunning

5. Sure, yeah, Edmonton gets snow. You know what it doesn’t get? Rain. Since we moved here in July, I think it has rained about five times. And I don’t mean five days, five times. This includes a light sprinkle overnight. Most dogs love rolling in the white stuff. Very few dogs love a drenching downpour.

Heck, I took this picture tonight at around 7:30 and the sun was only starting to decline

Heck, I took this picture tonight at around 7:30 and the sun was only starting to decline

6. Being further north than most other cities in North America, Edmonton benefits from extra hours of sunlight in the spring time. In mid-June, the sun rises before five am and starts to set long after ten o’clock at night. This is a whole lot of extra dog walking time. 

7. Edmonton is home to some very nice hotels. Many of them are pet friendly. When we first moved here, we had yet to arrange a permanent place to live. Though our current home was found in short order, the hotel staff at a very comfortable chain downtown were more than accommodating. It was just what my PH needed after his long drive across the country. They smiled every time we walked in the door and never batted an eye when Shiva barked at fellow guests. I am so grateful they gave us a place to rest while we got our bearings. Shiva and The Cat enjoyed it too.

Shiva in hotel

8. This one may seem vain, but can I just say, Whyte Avenue in Edmonton is a wicked ego boost. All I have to do is walk down this happening busy street with Shiva by my side for five minutes and my confidence glimmers. Edmontonian hipsters cannot resist a dog. Every single person we pass either smiles in her direction or stops to gush over how cute and well-behaved she is. They don’t even need to pet her, they are willing to love her from a distance.

Whyte Ave makes me feel better about my life

Whyte Ave makes me feel better about my life

9. Edmonton is also the city of festivals, many of which are dog friendly. My favourite so far is Ice on Whyte, an annual ice carving festival within walking distance of our home. This is one event worth braving the cold with your mutt.

10. Edmonton has all the feel and action of a big city without the expensive price tag. Alberta has no provincial sales tax and Edmonton’s hotel, food, and beverage rates are notably lower than other major Canadian cities. If you want a cool place to go that won’t cost a fortune, Alberta’s capital is a great choice.

11. I’ve said it before but I know I need to say it again: Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley is the largest green space in North America, 22 times the size of Central Park in New York. All of this is dog friendly. I dare you to walk all 93 miles of trail space.

098

If you aren’t convinced yet that Edmonton is an amazing place to be a dog, then I guess there is nothing more I can say. This city has surprised me in its openness and its greenery. Even when covered in ice it is pretty dang gorgeous. I hope you’ll come visit one day. But more, I hope you’ll vote for my city in Go Pet Friendly’s Best City For Pet Traveler’s Tournament. 

Shiva would lick you for it.

Scenes from the Solstice

Last year, on December 21st, I spent the entire day taking photographs of random moments and experiences. If you recall, December 21st, 2012 was set to be the End of the World and I wanted to make sure I captured it all. Much to my disappointment, the world kept turning and there are no cataclysmic scenes in the whole lot. Despite that, it was a fun exercise so I have decided to do it again. I reckon the Solstice, being the shortest day of the year, is as good a thing to ensnare as the Apocalypse.

The sun rose at approximately 9:00 am this morning and is due to set at 4:00 pm. That is not a lot of daylight to track. It is definitely the shortest day of the year. I hope to record as much as I can for posterity’s sake. Throughout the day I will keep updating today’s post with new snapshots. Given it is a weekend, I am hoping my activities will be slightly more interesting than a typical day at the office. The sun is bright and the snow is crisp. Let’s see what adventures await!

 

 

Meet the Bloggers: Putting it Out There

petcrazy-300x300The long-awaited blog hop is finally here! Thanks to my fellow hosts Kol’s NotesGo Pet FriendlyI Still Want More PuppiesNo Dog ABout ItThe Daily Dog BlogMy Brown NewfiesCindy Lu’s MuseLife With DesmondBringing Up BellaHeart Like a DogPeggy’s Pet Place and NEPA Pets for putting it all together. It is time for a full tell-all and show-all of all pet bloggers brave enough to bare-all. If you have ever wanted to know the true dirt lingering in the closets of your fellow pet lovers, your dreams have just come true. Don’t worry, I will stop mixing my metaphors and just get right to it.

Of course, the major purpose behind this awesome blog hop is to show our faces. I have never had an issue with that. It isn’t that I don’t suffer from massive self-esteem issues, because, well, if there is something I do well it is rip apart my appearance. I am a girl, after all, it is what we do. But! I realize how truly screwed up this is and I do my best to encourage other women to see themselves as they really are – not as society tells them they are – beautiful, talented, incredibly, worthy human beings. If I am going to have half a chance at being successful at this, I need to walk the walk, so to speak.

So what I have for you today is the most authentic set of pictures I could muster. Un-freshened make-up, un-trimmed hair, un-changed clothing, this is me, after I get home from work each day. It’s pretty much what I look like right now as I am typing this.

Selfie!

Selfie!

Yep, that’s me. No editing, no effort. Just the cold, hard facts. But, this is a pet blog after all, so I recruited my long-suffering PH into snapping a few shots of me and the Sheevs, equally unedited. If you look closely, you can see the Shivster’s scar…

003

Here is where I get down to the truth of the matter. I hope you are ready because this isn’t going to be pretty. I am wretched at naming my favourite anything. Mostly because making a decision is just dang hard. Choosing one thing out of the zillions of things I adore gives me a nasty rash. But I will do it for you. I hope you don’t hold my answers against me.

What’s your favourite non-animal related book?

Non-animal, eh? It depends on who is asking. My common, practiced answer to this question is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – a book I really do love. My knee-jerk answer? The book I could read a million times and then a million times more? Anne of Green Gables.

What’s your favourite non-animal related movie?

Again, this answer changes. My typical, job-interview – yes, I have been asked this question in job interviews – response is Life is Beautiful. I do love this movie. It makes me bawl my eyes out in a good way. But the movie I could watch ten times in a row and still not get tired of it? Anastasia. The singing! The Russia-ness of it all! The John Cusack! *sigh*

What’s your favourite non-animal related food?

This one is just obvious to anyone who has read anything I have ever written. You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Who’s your favourite actor?

Gosh, this might be the hardest question of all. My favourite actress is, without a doubt, Emma Thompson. But my favourite actor? The male performer who I will watch regardless of the quality of storyline? Hugh Grant? Kenneth Branagh? Are we sensing a pattern?

What’s one thing you have to do every day?

Walk the puppers. It’s the first thing I think of every single morning.

What makes you feel fabulous?

Completing a really difficult project. Finishing this blog post will make me feel pretty awesome, actually.

What do you wish you were more skilled at?

Writing. I really, really want to learn more.

What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas Eve. I know, it’s not really a holiday but it’s my favourite day of the year. I am an anticipation junkie, what can I say?

Favourite meal?

Bread. And cheese. And garlic. Mix those ingredients together and I am bound to eat it all in one gulp.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Read. Sometimes, I wish I could just read forever. I actually do worry I will die before I am able to finish every book on my list. It is a fear that keeps me up at night.

What one word would people who know you use to describe you?

Quiet. Everyone tells me this. Most people tell me that don’t know what to think of me. That’s fine by me.

If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you?

Stingy. Or, if you ask The Cat? Annoying.

005

How is your pet most like you?

The dog and I are both kind of anxious. We both jump at loud noises and worry we are going to have to deal with strangers. In every other way we couldn’t be more different. Unless you count the fact we both like to sleep on the bed.

If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?

I don’t know that there is anything I would change at the moment. I would love to have more money but that is going to take some time.

Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?

My life with my PH, my amazing friends, and this incredible blogging community. I am just so freaking grateful for you all.

What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?

Well, you may or may not have noticed that I skipped several questions relating to positive things about myself. I need to discover things about me of which I am proud. It is just so hard. Right now, I come up empty. Maybe one day?

If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?

What an impossible question! If I didn’t have my current pets, I wouldn’t be here right now. Shiva is the reason for everything. If not for her, I wouldn’t have started this thing, I wouldn’t have worked in animal welfare, I wouldn’t be this person sitting here at night listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas special and rushing to finish writing before midnight. This scrawny speckled dog is the reason for all. If I didn’t have her, I might be living in Shanghai, for all I know.

I hope I have enlightened you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I may or may not answer, but I will appreciate your interest.

There are still a few hours left! I want to see YOUR ravishing mug in this linky list as soon as possible. Don’t leave me hanging here, vulnerable, all on my own!

The Grand Unmasking: Meet the Bloggers 2013

We are all bloggers for a reason. In one way or another most of us have difficulty expressing ourselves in real life. Some of us struggle with health issues, both mental and physical. Some of us lack confidence, some of us are socially awkward, and some of us just feel an inability to connect with people we interact with every day. One of the best parts of writing online is knowing there is a community of people out there who get how it feels to be alone and who might also feel different than everybody else.

As pet bloggers, it’s easy, too easy, to hide behind our words and our animals. Many writers even share their stories in the voices of their furry ones, putting that little bit of distance between themselves and their readers. I understand the drive behind that. It enables connection without giving away too much. We tell ourselves it is all about our pets, that people only comment and care because they like looking at photos of our more adorable counterparts.

I am here to tell you right now that this is simply not true. Even if you are writing in the voice of Patches or Callie or Thor, we all know it is you underneath. We all care what you have to say. Sure, we love your animals, but we come back to your blog because we want to learn more about you, the writer behind the fuzzball. You are the one with whom I cry when you have to visit the emergency vet; you are the one with whom I laugh when your dog scales the kitchen cupboards. Pet blogging may be about the animals on the surface, but scratch it a little and you’ll find it’s all about the human connection.

And we have one righteous community full of worthy humans, don’t you think?

Since the majority of us are women, I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there for judgment by the great unknown. Society doesn’t make it easy on us. No matter what we look like, we know it’s not good enough. I have yet to meet a single woman who is okay with how she appears in photographs. A woman will see a photo of herself and automatically wrinkle her nose before making a disparaging comment about her skin, weight, hair, eyes, pick-your-body-part-of-choice. Every. Single. Time.

I’m completely guilty of this. Just take a look up at that photo on the right there, the one of me holding Shiva. I think it is a terrible picture. My hair looks flat, I am leaning at a weird angle, the sun is unflattering, I look like I have a double-chin, and don’t even get me started on my eyebrows. But the thing is? I remember when that picture was taken. It was last summer. We had just moved in to our house in Bedford, Nova Scotia and we were hanging out on a rare sunny day in our private backyard. I remember feeling happy that day, relaxed. There was nothing else for me to do but enjoy the moment. As much as I despise the way I look in the picture, I am also glad the day was captured.

This is why I leave it up there. Sure, I could swap it for a picture in which I feel I look more presentable, but that photo is of an authentic moment between me and Shiva. It is what this website is all about. And so it remains.

Besides, this picture on my "about" page is much worse. And yet, doesn't it personify my relationship with Shiva perfectly?

Besides, this picture on my “about” page is much worse. And yet, doesn’t it personify my relationship with Shiva perfectly?

This is why on December 18, 2013 I hope you will join me and fellow bloggers Go Pet Friendly, I Still Want More Puppies, Kol’s Notes, No Dog About It, The Daily Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies, CindyLu’s Muse, Life With Desmond, Bringing Up Bella, Heart Like A Dog, Peggy’s Pet Place, and NEPA Pets in the Grand Unmasking. We want to see a picture of you – with or without your furry one – and learn more about the creative mind behind the words on the screen.

I encourage you to be as free as possible with your photo-taking. If having your picture taken makes you uncomfortable try to relax, play with your pet, go to a location you love. Try not to think so much about the camera and think more about having a good time. If make-up makes you feel better, that’s fine. If you have a favourite outfit or a favourite hairstyle, go for it. Take a selfie (and I recommend this link for some wicked tips) or have a friend or loved one capture a candid moment. I assure you, no matter what you think, you are going to look gorgeous.

But we also want to know the details. The juicy bits. To get you started, here are some questions we’d love for you to answer. On the big day of the blog hop, feel free to tackle as many as you’d like, and definitely don’t hesitate to throw in a few questions of your own. The more you are willing to divulge, the better!

What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Who’s your favorite actor?
What’s one thing you have to do every day?
What makes you feel fabulous?
What do you wish you were more skilled at?
What’s your favorite holiday?
Favorite meal?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What one word would people who know you use to describe you?
If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you? What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
How is your pet most like you?
What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?

Once you have your photo and put together your answers, make sure to link up on the linky tool! I certainly don’t want to miss out on anything you have to stay. And I can’t wait to be able to put a beautiful face to a familiar name.

Grab the badge and join in! I will warn you, participation may end in gaining many new friends who share the same fears. It’s a risk you’ll have to be willing to take. Don’t forget, if you give yourself permission to be unapologetically you, it encourages others to do the same and who knows what the fall out might be…

Meet the Pet Bloggers Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.kolchakpuggle.com" title="Meet the Pet Bloggers Hop"><img src="http://kolchakpuggle.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/petcrazy-300x300.png" width="240" height="240" alt="Meet the Pet Bloggers Hop" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I Write More and More Letters

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.

Regretfully,

Your Fellow Dog Walker

Dear Shiva,

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?

Thanks.

Forever yours,

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.

Annoyed,

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.

Missing you,

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?

Exasperated,

Your Consolation Human

Dear Petosphere,

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

Protecting a Dog’s Right to Drool! #owntheslobber

Once again, it is National Slobber Appreciation Day. And, once again, Shiva is slobberless.

It is not from lack of effort! I coached her all year for just this moment. We looked at all the pictures from last year’s big event. She received tips from the pros at the dog park. We even set up play dates with her slobberiest pal, Jenna the Bernese Mountain Dog, hoping her skills would rub off.

007

Jenna: “Think of a really big juicy steak”

She learned what to do, practiced for five whole minutes every day. This year, Shiva vowed, she would be champion of the droolers.

Alas, when it came time to show her stuff for the cameras, her mouth dried up. I don’t know if it was stage fright or if she needed to drink more water but upon even the closest examination, there is no slobber to be found on her whiskered chin. Just pristine fur and a bit of kibble dust. It’s so embarrassing. And she calls herself a dog.

013

There is no point being hard on her. Shiva is the most disappointed of all.

But know this. Just because Shiva can’t slobber under pressure doesn’t mean she is one of those Anti-Slobber Activists. The idea of forcing a poor soul to wear one of those evil drool-catching contraptions makes her ears flatten against her skull. Her tail tucks just imagining the humiliation these dogs experience on a daily basis. There is nothing unnatural about saliva. It should be celebrated as a healthy bodily function! Not moaned over as a hideous side effect of dogginess.

At one time or another Shiva firmly believes that everybody drools. Dogs, humans, even cats – though the latter would never admit it. Good, innocent dogs shouldn’t be punished for something that is beyond their control. Shiva desperately wants to protect a dog’s right to drool, regardless of the length and goopiness. Some of her best friends have been hard core droolers! What’s a little globber between friends, right? So despite her failure to come up with any liquid worthy of showing off, Shiva stands stall with her goobery pals on this important day.

008

If you are a dog and you slobber, flaunt it for all to see. And if you are a human and you do the same, well, Shiva wants you to wear your drool proud. Today you don’t have to hide or make excuses. Today is the day you can own that slobber! Show the world how almost-beautiful a pool of saliva can really be!

Just look at anyone of the dogs featured here and here and tell me they aren’t gorgeous. Every single one of them.

Slobber Lovers of the World Unite!

Real Life Confession #13: I am a Challenge Failure

It hurts; oh, it hurts! But I have to be honest. For a moment, I did think about faking it. There was the slight chance for me to throw something together over the weekend and pretend as if I had worked hard all month. As hard as many of you. It would have been a sorry lie. It probably would have caused me to lose even more sleep. So! I am going to tell the truth – as humiliating as it is.

Remember all those challenging challenges I signed up for? I haven’t finished them. I’ve barely started. As my grandfather would say… DOING!

There are no excuses. None of value anyway. I just didn’t do them. I didn’t run for thirty minutes every day. I didn’t complete any of the great trick ideas I had for Shiva. The entire month of January was one unmitigated disaster. It was not at all what I had planned.

In order to prevent 2013 from being forever named the “Year of Shittery” (oh, how I am tempted to write off the next eleven months…) I am throwing back my shoulders, slipping on my big girl shoes and forcing myself to look at it all in a positive way. No, things didn’t go as I’d hoped. That doesn’t mean it was a complete waste. Failure happens. It’s what one learns from failure that matters most.

And I learned!

1. Running in snow boots isn’t as hard as you’d think.

2. Shiva will always push her boundaries. If I give her an inch, she will take the dang province. I can’t let my criteria slip for a second.

3. It is possible to spend too much time watching goat videos.

4. If the only thing I accomplish each day is waking up and walking my dog, I can consider it a success.

5. Wallowing only leads to more wallowing.

6. Avoidance of things I dislike is one of my biggest motivators – à la Something Wagging This Way Comes. Really I should have figured this out long ago.

7. As long as I can go home, everything will be okay in the end.

8. You are all awesome. But I guess I knew that already.

Even though I don’t deserve it, I am giving myself a do-over. February can – and will – be better. I can – and will – achieve my goals. I’ve kicked serious butt at similar challenges in the past and I can do it again! I am kicking out my inner wallower and I am going to give it an honest try this time. To keep myself accountable, every time I write a post I am going to share both my running progress and my dog training progress. Each day I have to do a little of both. Hopefully within the next thirty days I will be feeling better about my accomplishments. From here on out I am officially changing my attitude!

Failure

Keep calm and give Shiva a cookie, that’s my new motto.

Congratulations go out to Taryn of A Tale of Two Cardis. She is the winner of a copy of The Love Dogby Elsa Watson. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!