Bad dogs, good owners

World’s best dog? Definitely not the title I’d give my dog Kita. There’s a lot I love about her though. But she can also be the most challenging and frustrating dog I’ve ever known.

I shared in a recent blog post that I hate walking my dogs. You can read about that HERE. Except now that I walk them daily, I really enjoy it. It’s not without our share of struggles though. If you’re just finding my blog for the first time, then let me introduce you to Kita. She’s a rescue that we adopted when she was just shy of 5 months old. We don’t know anything about her parents, but the family that took her in felt overwhelmed with a puppy and surrendered her to a local shelter. We fostered her for a couple of days while another family considered adopting her. In that short time, she and our golden retriever, Izzy, became the best of friends. When the other family fell through, we made it official and grew our family from three to four.

Kita is the cutest little scruffy terrier mix you’ll ever meet! When she wants something, like our attention, a treat or to go outside, she does this adorable little begging act. Which leads to her getting just about whatever she wants!

Kita is also the world’s worst dog to walk. For a 25 pound girl, she sure can pull pretty hard. She lunges at kids riding skateboards, tries to attack cars with loud mufflers, drags us to homes where other dogs live (she’s got an amazing memory!), stalks the chipmunks and anything else you can think of except walk nicely by our side. As a pet sitter, I tell myself all the time, she would be my worst client.  And I’ve walked hundreds of dogs through the years. Big ones, small ones, ones that hated to walk, ones that wanted to run, ones that had no manners and ones that were the perfect walkers. Kita tops them all!

I’ve also done a lot of training in obedience and agility. And so has Kita. We’ve tried harnesses (she’s too long so they don’t stay on), halti (her nose is too short so it falls off), rewarding her with treats (which works for all of 5 minutes), playing before walking (she gets a second burst of energy) and our latest, a freedom harness. I’ve done redirecting so when I see, say, a skateboarder coming our way, I stop and redirect her focus on me. She’s strong. She’s stubborn. She’s determined.

But I love her anyways. I’ll run into people I know who say they saw me walking my dogs, did I hear the car honk. No, I was probably too busy trying to keep one step ahead of my scruffy little monster. Some days I think to myself I can’t wait until she gets older and is too arthritic to behave this way. Knowing her though, she’ll probably have a lot of fight in her until her last breath.

Often I question how did I get to be such a bad dog mom. Then I look at Izzy and my first golden Mika, and I know I’m not. So maybe this is a case of when good owners have bad dogs. And there are a lot of us. I’m sure I could probably start a club! Who wants to join me???

Having a bad dog doesn’t make me a bad owner. Yes, Kita exasperates me. Often. But she also brings so much adventure into my life. Experiences I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for her.  Teaching me new ways to explore the world. And for that I am grateful. Even if she is the world’s worst dog to walk.

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Adopt A Shelter Cat Month

Did you know that June is Adopt a Shelter cat month? It’s also the kitten days of summer at Centre County PAWS. Which means that all adoption fees for kittens will be waived for the month of June.

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All kittens will be

·      Microchipped

·      Up to date on shots

·      Tested for key illnesses

·      Spayed or neutered

·      Receive a vet checkup visit

This applies to any kitten up to one year old. The regular adoption process is still in effect.

adoptable PAWS kittens

If an older cat is more your jive, cats 1 year and older can be adopted for just 5 bucks! Sounds like a great month to meet your new best friend! To jump start your search, here’s a few cats and kittens I’ve met recently that need a forever family. To learn more about any of those pictured here, or any other cat available for adoption, the adoption process, please visit the Centre County PAWS website HERE. Maybe I’ll see you around PAWS this summer?

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Summer 2017 bucket list

With the official start of summer just one day away, I thought this would be a good time to make some plans for the next 3 months. I love summer. After a long, cold, dreary winter, it's so nice to be able to spend more time outdoors. It's also my busiest time of the year with pet sitting. I learned a few years ago that if I don't make goals, summer will be over before I know it and I'll be left wondering why I didn't spend more time doing something other than working. Last week I wrote a bucket list for Steve and I. Things we've mentioned doing that we haven't but keep saying we will. This reminded me of the summer time bucket list with my dogs I blogged about last year.

in 2016, I came up with nine things I wanted to do with my girls. We checked five of those off our list. Which isn't bad, but could have been better. So I'm going to take another stab and write a new bucket list for this summer. Here goes...

  • Take them for a walk in a new neighborhood. Let them lead the way and go where ever their noses take us
  • Hike Mt Nittany 
  • Explore a pond new to us and go swimming. There are so many ponds in our area, yet we've never swim in them
  • Have dinner at Home D during a Pooches on the Patio night
  • Attend an event hosted by Bone Bar & Boutique - Bellefonte's newest pet store
  • Set up a doggy playdate - both Izzy and Kita have some dog friends they get along well with, but haven't seen in a while

We'll do some of our usual activities as well, like attend a State College Spikes Bark in the Park game, wade in Spring Creek at Spring Creek park, have doggy ice cream during Wiscoy's friday night ice cream social in August, and get an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen. Izzy's birthday is in July, so we'll also plan on doing something fun to make her day extra special.

What plans do you have with your dogs this summer?

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Follow Me!

I've been an avid Pinterest user for several years. Mostly I pin recipes so I can reference the app on my phone when I'm at the grocery store trying to decide what to make for dinner. I also collect pins on fashion, home decorating and of course all things pets. Recently I created a business Pinterest page which is devoted entirely to living a life with pets. You'll find great sayings about our furry friends, gifts for the dog and cat lover in your life (or yourself!), home remodeling ideas with our pets in mind, dog treat recipes and so on. So if you're on Pinterest too, hop on over and follow me! 

Speaking of social media, you can also find me on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and GOOGLE +. I'd love to connect with you, so be sure to "follow" me!

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Lessons from the dog

A smile. It’s amazing how a simple gesture can have a huge impact. It can affect a mood. It can turn a bad day into a better one. It can shift a mindset from negative to positive. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t take much effort and everyone can do it. So why bother writing a blog post about this?

Because we don’t smile enough. Did you know that children smile up to 400 times a day? And adults on average smile less than 20 times a day? I don’t know about you, but I’d guess my dog smiles more than all of us combined. And that’s a lesson we can learn from our furry canine friends.

I love coming home. Not just because it’s my space with my stuff and my family. But because there’s nothing more exciting than the greeting I get from my dogs. Whether I’ve been gone for 5 minutes, or all day, they are so happy to see me. And they let me know it! They squeal, they hug, they wag their tails, they jump up on me, they nudge me to pet them.

Even when I’m late and they’ve been left home alone for hours on end. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a bad mood and stomp in the door with anger. Or if I’m talking on the phone to someone else and ignore them. My coming home is probably the highlight of their day.

Can you image a world where we all greeted each other with the same enthusiasm? Ok, I don’t mean you need to lick each other’s faces. But come on, how much better would you feel if we all made eye contact and said hello with a smile instead of passing by and pretending we don’t exist? I bet I’d feel more confident, more energized, more enthusiastic.

Like so many folks, I’m in the habit of not smiling and saying hello when I pass people on the street. Thankfully my dogs aren’t as rude. They wag their tails at just about everyone. It’s neat to see the chain reaction and how this elicits a smile in return. That makes me feel good knowing they just made someone’s day.

Let's all make a better effort to smile more. We can start with baby steps - increase our smiles from just 20 a day to 30. Then 40, and 50 and so on. Smile especially when you don’t feel like it. Smile even if there’s no one around. Even if no one sees it, smiling is said to make ourselves feel better. And especially smile if it looks like someone is having a bad day.

I've never seen a dog in a bad mood, have you?  Think about it. Have you ever told a friend your dog woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Or call your pooch a crabby patty? Or tell them to go chill out? Nope, me either. 

I'm going to make a commitment to greet people as though my tail is wagging. Won't you join me?   

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