Poppin Word on Wordless Wednesday

August 13, 2014
Maya and Poppin Dog Collar

Maya’s new dog collar from my friend, Shannon!

There are more fun pet photos for the Wordless Wednesday Blog hop below:

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Spoiled but not Spoiled Rotten

August 8, 2014

Big Bone Jones Natural Chews 003

Do people tell you your dogs are spoiled? I hear it so much that I’ve actually told people my dogs are spoiled. But I think the word ‘spoiled’ when referring to our pets can have two different meanings. The Google definition is to “harm the character of (a child) by being too lenient or indulgent.” I imagine that this is what some people mean when they tell me I spoil my dogs. But when I say it, I simply mean to care for in a generous way. And I think this less harsh (albeit incorrect) definition of spoiled is what most people mean. Here’s why.

By the standards of many non-dog-lovers, it can certainly seem that I go overboard with all the things I do for my dogs. Maya and Pierson have lots of dog toys, nice plush beds, get quality food. They get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation with learning tricks. And I buy lots of dog products to promote their health and safety.

Dogs Maya & Pierson on Pet Dek in Car

This kind of treatment is easily perceived as spoiling by those who only get their dogs the basic supplies. But I am not lenient or indulgent with Maya and Pierson.

Spoiling My Dogs with Food?
For one, my dogs are not overfed. They have set meal times and are only fed a certain amount. They get treats ever so often, but I don’t overdo it. Sometimes I give treats to be indulgent. But most other times, Maya and Pierson get treats when we do fun training time.

Spoiling My Dogs by Training Them?
That’s right, I train them. It can’t be called spoiling by the true definition if I’ve taken the time to train my dogs manners. Maya and Pierson don’t get to run amuck. They are not allowed in certain rooms. They sit and stay in certain situations. And they come when called.

I can be lenient (or lazy) when it comes to certain training aspects. I am terrible about being consistent with leash walking habits. While I do cross the street when we see another dog in order to help with Maya and Pierson’s leash reactive behaviors, I do not make it a point to specifically train for modifying leash behaviors on a daily or even weekly basis. Because I still try to be responsible about their behaviors, I do not see this leniency as spoiling my dogs.

Maya and Pierson Cuddle on Couch 2

Allowing Dogs on the Furniture?
Some people believe that allowing your dogs on the furniture is spoiling them. They say this could lead to certain behavior issues. I’m not going to dispute that here. While Maya and Pierson are not generally allowed on the furniture (a personal preference), I’ve allowed it in the past and on some special occasions. And it certainly hasn’t harmed their character.

Spoiling with Love?
Perhaps allowing my dogs to live in the house where I can pet them every five minutes if I want can seem indulgent. Maybe it is, in a way. But this action does not harm their character. It is actually a benefit for both of us. They get to relax. I get to relax.

Maya Getting Nails Cut

Cutting doggy toenails.

Spoiling with Care?
While I do spend a lot of quality enjoyment time with my dogs, I also do things to them that they do not enjoy. Things like brush their teeth, cut their nails, and comb their hair. Is this spoiling? I think not.

Dog Toys All Over the Floor 001

Spoiling with Lots of Dog Toys?
When I buy Maya and Pierson a bunch of toys it can be perceived as spoiling. I beg to differ, though. Having toys to stimulate the mind and to get exercise is not going to harm their character. It’s going to help it.

Spoiling with Dog Clothes?
If your dog wears cute clothes, people will probably stop and tell your dog in a cooing voice that he’s spoiled. But they certainly couldn’t mean spoiling as in harming their character because how can dog clothes harm their character? Dogs don’t get the uppity attitude that some people can get regarding attire. They don’t think, “OMD, that dog looks like she’s wearing a hand-me-down. What a loser.” Right?

Buying the Best for My Dogs?
Spending money on quality dog food, safety gear, and veterinary care can be seen as spoiling a dog by people who do not do these things for their own pet. But it’s not spoiling them if these things are beneficial.

So if someone tells me I spoil my dogs and they mean I spend a lot of money on them, then yes, I do spoil my dogs. But if someone tells me this and they mean I overdo it to the point of harming my dogs’ characters, then I completely disagree. Maya and Pierson have their faults (who doesn’t). But overall they are very good dogs. Pampered, yes. Spoiled, perhaps by my less harsh definition. Spoiled rotten, no way!

What do you think most people mean whey they say your dog is spoiled?

Cute Words on Wordless Wednesday

August 6, 2014
Pierson Dog Cute Bunny-Killing Machine

No actual bunnies were hurt in the taking of this photo.

Face it, Pierson. You’re a cutie fluffy boy patootie.

There are a lot more fun pet photos on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop. Click the link below:

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Poor Maya – Sometimes Stuff Happens with Our Dogs

August 1, 2014
My Sad Dog Maya in a Cone

Poor sweet Maya. She had to wear this cone for a few weeks. You’ll see why below.

Stuff. I’m putting it nicely here because I don’t like to curse. If you have dogs, you understand what I mean by stuff. It doesn’t matter how much preventative action you take, how much training you do, or how responsible of a pet owner you are. Stuff happens. And it happens when you least expect it.

Let me tell you about the bad stuff that happened to my poor Maya during her first couple of weeks in our new home in Iowa. Maya was attacked on two separate occasions by two different dogs and two different owners. Sounds terrible, right? It was traumatizing for us both, especially Maya.

The funny thing is, we don’t live in a neighborhood of irresponsible pet owners. Our neighbors don’t let their dogs run loose. There is almost no trouble here. It just so happens that Maya was in the wrong place at the wrong time… twice.

The first incident was when we were on a walk. And it was as a result of a pet owner who had a momentary lapse of judgment. She went from the back yard to the front in order to put something in the trash. It was only going to take a few seconds so she didn’t close the gate. A few seconds was all it took. Maya and I happened to walk by at that moment and her dog ran out the gate and attacked Maya.

It happened so quickly. I was too shocked to react. Thankfully, the owner reacted right away. Maya’s feelings were hurt, but she was otherwise unharmed.

The woman was very apologetic. I didn’t lose my temper or give her a lecture about how she should have known better. The truth is, it could have just as easily happened the other way around. I get complacent with how well my dogs behave and sometimes I don’t think. Seriously, what are the chances of another dog walking by in that less-than-30-second span?

In the second incident, a Jack Russell Terrier let himself outside when he saw my dogs. Jack Russells are extremely intelligent… and devious. Although the owner knew how smart her dog was, the act of him opening the door like that took her completely by surprise. The Jack went mostly after Pierson and it was an ugly fight. But Pierson has thick fur and he defended himself, so he was fine.

The other dog owner and I struggled to get everyone separated. It wasn’t easy. Jacks are fast and agile. Pierson would not back down but I managed to grab him and get him away. When I did, the Jack went after Maya. Maya didn’t fight back. Her skin is thick around her neck, but the little dog got her around the leg and tore off a quarter-sized patch of skin.

My Dog Maya and Pet First Aid Kit

I used the pet first aid kit from Kurgo for the first time when Maya was injured by another dog.

The owner was extremely apologetic and took full responsibility. She helped me tend Maya’s wounds and took care of her medical needs. The injury on Maya’s leg looked terrible. But no arteries were hit. There was very little bleeding. Her hair will probably never grow back in that spot.

Maya limped badly for the rest of the day. But by the following morning, she was back to her chipper self. She wore a cone for a while, took some antibiotics, and had some nice pain relieving ointment. Her wound is now healed nicely, although scarred.

I know my Pierson is dog aggressive. And as such, I am very careful with him. But stuff can still happen. I can see the possibility of Pierson getting out or getting away unexpectedly and going after another dog. It has actually happened once while on a walk. He jerked the leash right out of my hand. We were very fortunate in that I got a hold of him before he could do anything to the other dog.

If Pierson had done what these dogs did to my Maya, would that make me an irresponsible dog owner? Would it label Pierson as a vicious dog? If it had been Pierson who had done these things, how would I have wanted the other parties to react? Angrily? Accusingly? With hostility?

Let’s face it, sometimes dogs do doggy things. It could be easy to judge these other dog owners and their dogs. And I think sometimes we tend to do just that, especially when we are the victims. But it is important to look at the entire situation. We are not perfect. Our dogs, angels though they might be most of the time, are not perfect either.

This article is not to say that being responsible doesn’t matter because stuff is going to happen anyway. Always be responsible with your pets. Never be careless. Because that one moment when you’re not is when stuff will happen to you and your dog too.

Maya Under My Desk

Maya loves to lay under my desk when I’m working. If you look at her front left leg, you can see her injury.

Wordy Wordless Wednesday – Celebrating 41 Years with Dogs

July 30, 2014

Did I say ‘wordless’? Okay, so it’s not completely wordless. Today is my 41st birthday. I do not dread this day (nor did I dread the big four-o day). These are the happiest times in my life. There have been a lot of bumps in my early years, but one great thing has been constant for all 41 of them and that is dogs. Let me share them with you.

I showed you a photo of this dog last week. Wendy wasn’t just special to my mom, she was special to me because she was the first dog I was ever exposed to.

Spaniel Mix Wendy

My mom was worried about how Wendy would react to me as a newborn baby. Luckily, Wendy adored me and she was very protective of me. She would sleep under my crib and she’d watch me carefully whenever anyone held me.

I showed you this photo last week too. While I was growing up, my mom had a number of dogs, but Cassie was the first dog that was considered my dog.

Cassie - Shetland Sheepdog

When my mom took Cassie in, I was just 10 years old. Cassie immediately attached herself to me and would only sleep with me in my room, even when it was my sister’s turn to have her.

After I moved out of my parent’s house I, of course, took Cassie with me. Cassie was getting older and I thought a new puppy would liven things up a bit. Cassie wasn’t as thrilled about Smokey as I was, but they did play from time to time and Smokey did put a bit of a spring into her step.

Me and My Dog Smokey at Georgetown Lake

My dog Smokey was my hiking buddy. We spent three days roughing it as we hiked around Georgetown Lake in Texas.

My Border Collie / Shepherd Dog Smokey

Here’s a better photo of my dog Smokey, also taken at Georgetown Lake.

More of My Dog Smokey

Smokey and I did a lot of outdoor things together. Swimming was one of his favorites.

After a year or so of getting Smokey, I started working for the animal shelter in Austin, Texas. Since then I adopted and fostered a number of dogs (and cats). I don’t talk about them as much as the others because I had to leave them with my ex after we got divorced. The divorce ended badly so I do not know what became of them. I can only hope he cared for them or gave them to good homes.

Beagle Mix Huckleberry Hound

Huckleberry Hound was rescued from the back of a Uhaul truck with 50 other dogs. The dogs were all sick with Parvo. Huckleberry was the only one that pulled through. He lived at the shelter for three months before I decided to take him home. Huck lived with me for four years before he got out of the fence one day and was struck and killed by a car. :(

My Dogs and Cat Huckleberry Grady Scrapper

Huck with Scrapper and Grady. Scrapper is the cat and he loved to walk on a leash outside. Grady was my dad and stepmom’s dog. They gave up Grady because they couldn’t train him. They do not have the dog-sense that my mom has.

Cats CleoPatra Scrapper Dillan

Patra (short for Cleopatra) is the tortoiseshell cat and is the first cat I rescued from the animal shelter. She was a stray and was in rabies observation for a week for scratching a child. She was going to be euthenized but I didn’t let it happen. I don’t remember how I got Scrapper, the white with gray kitty. And Dillan, the all gray kitten, was rescued from the jaws of a Doberman named Dillan.

Golden Retriever Molly McButter

I fostered Molly for a few weeks, during which time she earned the nickname of Molly McButter.

Foster Pups Skittles Max Puddles

From left to top then bottom right: Skittles, Max, and Puddles. These were foster pups I had for a few weeks.

My Black and White Cat Spider

I honestly don’t remember how I got Spider (so named because he often climbed the curtains and walls). He is one of the ones I was forced to leave behind when I got divorced.

Dogs Becky Anne and Sheba

Becky Anne, the G. Shepherd-colored Whippet mix, was going to be put to sleep because she wasn’t cute enough. Yes, it’s true. The man in charge of the shelter I worked at decided he didn’t like me and immediately ordered the dog to be put to sleep when he found out I took interest in her. Sheba is the Rottweiler mixed that was abandoned in front of my house. I guess her owners decided that since I already had five dogs, I wouldn’t notice the sixth! I had Sheba for two years before she got out with Huckleberry and was never heard from again, even though she was wearing her tags. :(

My Chow / Shepherd Mix Achilles

Achilles came from a box of pups that someone was giving away in front of Walmart. I had him for almost three years before he escaped from the yard and was never seen again. He had tags, but I lived in the country so anything could have happened. :(

If you’ve been following this blog, then you remember this dog. Like my dog Achilles, Sephi was named from Greek mythology (short for Persephone). My ex gave Sephi to me because he felt guilty for cheating on me. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. Sephi was the only dog I was able to keep from the divorce. I couldn’t keep the others because I wasn’t working and so my ex got to keep our house.

My Chow Shepherd Mix Dog Sephi

Sephi was my sole companion for many hears after my divorce. She passed away at the age of 11 in November 2011.

My two current best buds are Maya and Pierson.

My Dogs Maya and Pierson Having a Ball in the Fall

Maya was adopted by a family with two toddlers and an infant. After one week, they posted her on Craigslist and I was the lucky responder. Pierson was rescued from Pierson Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

That’s all the words I have on this very special Wordy Wordless Wednesday. For more doggy fun, check out the blog hop link below.

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My Mom is Amazing

July 25, 2014

My mother is amazing! She took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago but is determined to still live her life with a smile. She is so determined that she wants to get up and do things. In fact, she is actually doing much better right now. This past weekend, she went to check out the neighborhood garage sales. She loves garage sales. My stepdad says she was wide awake at about 5:30 am Saturday morning ready to go! Thursday, hospice arranged to get her a ride into town. Mom really wanted to go to Walmart. Here are a few recent photos of my amazing mom.

Mom and silly mask

My mom loves to laugh. She got a kick out of this silly mask my stepdad got for her.

Mom at a Garage Sale 7-19-14

My mom loves garage sales. This was taken on July 19, 2014.

 

Mom Mandy Casper

My stepdad and the friend they are staying with, Bill, each bought my mom a stuffed animal, which my mom named Mandy and Casper.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I got my love for dogs from my mom. When I was a girl, my mom was the town’s unofficial dog rescuer. Wendy, in the photo below, was initially a stray. My mom got her exactly one year before I was born.

Spaniel Mix Wendy

There was a Collie my mom had before I was born. I think his name was Ranger. When he was was given up by his owners he was covered in mats. I have a photo of Ranger, but the scan didn’t come out well. In the photo, he has a luxurious coat, all thanks to my mom’s loving care. Squash was a Mastiff mixed abandoned by our neighbors. He was tied on a short thick chain in the back yard and left there. Squash became a loving family member who later returned the kindness by protecting my baby sister from a pack or a pair ( I can’t remember) of aggressive dogs.

Cassie was a Sheltie given up by her family. My mom took her in, but Cassie attached herself to me and became my dog.

Cassie - Shetland Sheepdog

Rocky is the dog that recently passed away just before my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was posted on Craigslist as a dog “free to a good home”. Luckily, he found a great home with my mom.

Rocky Standing Over Mom

My mom recently lost her dog Rocky. This is him standing on the top of her chair. Rocky was a very lovable dog but he loved my mom more than anyone.

Solo was also a “free to good home” on rollanet in Rolla, MO. She came from a terrible dog breeding situation that got way out of hand. Before my mom saved her, Solo lived in a small cage full of dog crap with two other dogs. Solo came with a ton of issues including extreme shyness, fear aggression, and just plain aggression. Today, she is by my mom’s bedside and living the high life. Her shyness and aggression is mostly gone, although she still dislikes other dogs. She is a much different dog than she was when my mom first got her. Love can do that.

Solo the Border Collie Mix

My mom survived lung cancer a few years ago. This is her after recovery and with her dog Solo.

There were so many other dogs that my mom rescued. I remember Max, Lady, Lips, an Afghan Hound, and so many more that I don’t recall the names of. With her generous love, my mom has changed the lives of so many animals. And it is obvious animals have had a positive influence on her. She doesn’t let her illness get her down and the smallest things make her happy. She is truly amazing and I am so proud to have her as my mom.

Mom with First Daughter Dawn

This is me and my mom.

 

Wordless Wednesday – Maya Sleeping

July 23, 2014
Maya Sleeping 1 - July 2014

I almost died laughing when I looked over from watching tv and saw this. :D

Maya Sleeping 2 - July 2014

Cuddle time close-up. If you think Maya looks really innocent in this photo, then she has you fooled. ;)

Maya Sleeping 3 - July 2014

Maya has beautiful eyelashes.

Check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop for more fun pet photos by clicking the link below.

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Saying Goodbye to Our Housemates

July 18, 2014
Our Family Sha Sha Jinbo Etc

Left to Right: Pierson, Jinbo, Jinbo’s mom holding Jinbo’s son Eric, Sha Sha, Jinbo’s dad, me, my husband Li Xi, Maya. Jinbo’s parents lived with us for about 6 months. Sha Sha’s mom was here for a while at one time as well. We had quite the house full. :)

Since I haven’t done too much posting these past few months, I thought I’d go backwards and fill you in on some going-ons. It might seem a little strange for a married couple to have housemates, but here’s the scoop on our friends (and recent housemates) Sha Sha and Jinbo.

We had a house with a finished basement. The basement had two carpeted bedrooms and a living area. And it had a full bathroom. The only thing it didn’t have was a kitchen. But it was more than enough space and we didn’t need it all, so why not rent the basement out?

We lived right near KU so certainly there were some students in need of inexpensive living space. My husband, being Chinese and being a part time student at KU, posted an ad on the Chinese student classified section of the KU website.

We’ve had a few housemates over the past few years and everything had always worked out great. Sha Sha and Jinbo were our most recent housemates. They moved in almost two years ago and became like family. And almost a year ago today, they had a baby boy!

There are several things to consider when a new baby comes into the home, but most of them didn’t apply to us. Maya and Pierson are my dogs but the new baby isn’t mine, so there were no jealousy issues. The dogs were not allowed in the basement so all interactions with the baby were strictly supervised. The biggest concern, but still a relatively minor one, was Pierson’s barking habit. He barks at everything. This is why I ended up getting him a bark control collar.

Our housemates had to move out this April. They got a job back home in China and so had to leave the states. It was a very sad goodbye. Oddly, within a couple of weeks after they moved out, we found out we had to sell the house and move too. Everything worked out perfectly in that situation, but we still miss them.

A Few Words About Drawing Rocky for Wordless Wednesday

July 16, 2014

Just before my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, her dog Rocky passed away in his sleep. My mom really loved Rocky and wanted to have him memorialized with art. And not just art from anyone. She wanted me to draw him. :)

Portrait of Rocky the Dog

It really helps me to draw a dog if I have a great photo, and my mom had the perfect one of Rocky.

Third Sketch of Rocky the Dog

It took a few sketches to get the proportions of Rocky right.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 1

I traced the sketch onto acid free pastel paper. As always, the first color I added was to the eyes and nose using pastel pencils.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 2

The next part was coloring Rocky’s open mouth. This was actually far more difficult that I first thought it would be.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 3

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 4

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 5

I’m almost done!

Drawing of Rocky the Dog - Pastel

The final touches were adding Rocky’s whiskers (which is something I almost always forget) and adding texture to his long neck fur. This photo is actually a little dark compared to the original. Imagine the fur as white as in the previous image.

I was lucky enough to be able to complete this drawing while my mom was visiting me (which was just before I moved to Iowa). She was able to watch me draw and got to see me finish it. And I am proud to say that she absolutely loved it!

For more great pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop link below:

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Moving With Our Dogs and Getting Settled

July 11, 2014
Dogs on New Dog Bed Cover

Maya and Pierson resting on their new dog bed in our new house.

We’re finally moved and settled into our new home in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s been a rough journey for me because of all the things happening on or around the move:

We said goodbye to our housemates who lived with us for two years, my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, I found a lost dog, I participated in a pet event with my PetAutoSafety.com pet products, I went to visit my mom in Oregon, when I returned my husband started his new job in Iowa so I organized the contractors for painting and home repair, I took my final exam for statistics (and made an A), I wrote a report for my human relations class, we moved, I unpacked boxes and organized our household, Maya got beat up by another dog and I tended her wounds, my mom is still doing well but getting worse, someone wants to buy our house but wants other repairs done first so I am organizing that from long distance, I was really sick for a couple of weeks, and I am working on enrolling in a school here in Iowa so I can finish getting my degree.

Whew! We’re pretty much settled in now and I’m finally getting back into routine. But enough about me! What about Maya and Pierson?

DANGEROUS FOOD SCARE

While still at the house in Kansas, we had a huge scare with Maya and Pierson getting into food that the contractor workers left outside. Pierson ate half a chicken bone and Maya ate half a candy bar. I was so upset! Luckily, nothing came of it. Pierson later puked up the bone pieces with no ill effects and Maya only ended up with soft stool for a day.

DRIVE TO IOWA

The trip went very well. Maya and Pierson were very comfortable and very well behaved in the car. As you know, I use a number of pet travel products from my PetAutoSafety.com website. The newest one I got to try out was the Pet Dek. It is a lot like the Backseat Bridge with a few differences. Most of those differences are good, but there are a few cons. Read the pros and cons of the Pet Dek on my blog. And click the image below to be directed to my retail website.

Dogs Maya & Pierson on Pet Dek in Car

Look how much room Maya and Pierson have in the car with the new Pet Dek!

Maya and Pierson also wore their dog car seat belts. Pierson wore the Ruff Rider Roadie and Maya wore the ClickIt Utility. I had the windows down during the drive but they couldn’t put their heads out because I have the Breeze Guard car window screens in place. And I put Travel Calm on both Maya and Pierson just before we left. Maya is crazy in the car and Travel Calm helps a lot. It also has ingredients to help with car sickness. Even though Pierson hasn’t had trouble with car sickness for a long time, I still wanted to make sure he was comfortable.

FENCED YARD?

I mentioned in my post on May 15th that we don’t have a fenced yard anymore. Someone asked if we were going to get it fenced. The answer is no. There really isn’t any need. Maya and Pierson are indoor dogs. Even when they did have a fenced yard, they didn’t take advantage of it much. Don’t worry, Maya and Pierson are only out on a chain for a few minutes a few times a day and they are supervised the entire time. I did get a baby gate for the back porch. This will allow me to keep the back door open on nice days and allow them to enjoy the fresh air without having to worry about them being in the yard unattended.

Two Dogs on the Back Porch

We don’t have a fenced yard so in nicer weather, we will hang out on the back porch, which is blocked off with a baby gate.

LOCKED IN BASEMENT

A few days after we moved in to our new house, I accidentally locked Maya in the basement. I didn’t realize she had followed me down and so when I went back up, she stayed down there for a while. By the time I realized it, I was so worried about her. There was still a lot of junk in the basement left by the previous renters and I was worried rat poison might have been left down there. There was rat poison left under a bathroom sink, so I wasn’t sure where else this stuff might have been left. Luckily, the landlord confirmed that they did not put any rat poison in the basement.

MAYA GETS BEAT UP

Maya had some back luck with some dogs in the neighborhood. There were two incidents and they were completely accidental. I would not consider them the result of irresponsible dog owners at all. I will talk more in detail about that in a few days. Don’t worry, Maya is okay. She just had to wear the cone of shame for a while.

My Sad Dog Maya in a Cone

Poor Maya.

A quick little update on my mom – She is sleeping up to 22 hours per day now. Some days she does very well and other days she has problems with confusion and hallucinations. My stepdad is taking very good care of her and she now has help from hospice care. She is in good hands and surprisingly still in good spirits.

Thank you everyone, for stopping by. I think you will start to see me visit your blogs again. I’ve really missed everyone and can’t wait to catch up with all of you. :)


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