Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday – My Mom and the Dogs

March 26, 2014

My mom is doing well so far with her recent diagnosis. She is tired often but is keeping a positive attitude and living life as best as possible. It’s amazing how happy she is staying despite the adversity. She has been staying with my husband and I for the past couple of days. Here is a photo of her with Maya and Pierson.

Also, while she is here I have been drawing her beloved dog Rocky who passed away in January. This is what I have done so far. I should be finished with it later today. And around 2pm today, I will be taking her to the airport. She is going to Oregon to be with my sisters and brother and her numerous friends.

Before moving to Missouri a few years ago, my mom lived most of her life in Oregon and is excited about going back. After my stepdad is finished taking care of selling their belongings and property in Missouri, him and I are going to drive to Oregon with their dog Solo. I will be in Oregon with my mom for a couple of weeks or so. Don’t worry, I will still be taking care of business for PetAutoSafety.com.

My Mom with Maya and Pierson

My mom with Maya and Pierson. Pierson can sometimes be shy with strangers, but not my mom.

Rocky Small Drawing Almost Done

My mom’s beloved dog Rocky passed away in January. She wanted me to draw him for her so I have been working on this while she’s been visiting me.

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How Bad Would My Health Be Without My Dogs?

January 23, 2014
Maya on the Couch

When I’m not feeling well, I put a sheet over the couch and call the dogs up. Maya loves to cuddle with me. Mentally, it really helps me feel better.

Did you know about 1/4 of people with fibromyalgia are considered disabled? I do not consider myself disabled. Over the years I have learned how to manage most of my symptoms. Maya and Pierson help a lot. I imagine that without them, my symptoms would be far worse.

I wrote a post in November about how I was starting up a treatment that was supposedly going to cure my fibromyalgia. Well, it didn’t. I did everything I was supposed to. I did not have the support of a doctor, but that is only because there are no fibromyalgia specialists in my area. I did, however, buy a book that explained the treatment in detail. It required an over the counter drug, so I was able to implement everything to a T.

Anyway, since it didn’t work, I have to continue to manage my symptoms. This is where Maya and Pierson come in. Most days are pretty good, but I still have some bad ones. Yesterday, for example, I had to go to the emergency room. Before you worry, I was okay. I went at the suggestion of my doctor even though I was reasonably certain it wasn’t serious. It was my fibromyalgia acting up again.

Yesterday, I had an unexpected and terrible pain in my jaw and my mouth started to feel tingly. I was in extreme pain for several minutes before the pain slowly started to dissipate. This pain was unusual for me so I called my doctor and she told me to go to the emergency room.

Apparently, the painful jaw and tingling of the mouth is a symptom of a stroke. So when I got to the hospital, they immediately checked me in and began running a bunch of tests. All tests came up normal. They didn’t find anything wrong. Whew!

When I got home, I did my own research. I searched and searched about jaw pain until I finally found one that sounded like it could fit my situation. It said about 1/4 of fibromyalgia patients experience jaw pain. And the pain is more in the muscles than in the jaw. So there it is folks! I wasn’t having a stroke. It was just yet another symptom of my fibromyalgia. Ugh!

By now, it is well known that there are several health benefits to having a pet. I wholly believe this to be true. Sephi, Maya, and Pierson have been wonderful blessings in so many ways, including my health. Regular exercise is one way I am able to keep most of the fibromyalgia symptoms at bay. Maya and Pierson are great at helping me with this. We walk and play together all the time. Stress can trigger fibromyalgia symptoms as well and my dogs are great at helping me to alleviate stress.

Pull No More dog harness

Walking makes me feel better, and Maya too! :)

If you ever tell anyone you’ve heard pets provide health benefits and they don’t believe you, tell them you know someone who knows it is true. Attribute it to the placebo effect if you want. Whether my dogs are the sugar pill or the medicine, the fact remains that they are still a real remedy. They provide not only health benefits, but they hold the key to happiness. I don’t even want to imagine what my health and my life would be like without them.

Pierson and Mr. Monkey Dog Toy

Pierson’s cuteness helps lighten my mood whenever I’m not feeling well.

Thank you, Amy Shojai, for letting me reference your article about the health benefits of dogs.

Wordless Wednesday – Snow Face & Snow Tussle

January 8, 2014

We missed our first winter show because we were in Texas for the holiday. But the snow we got a couple days ago made up for it. My dogs Maya and Pierson had a brawl… I mean ball!

Dogs First Snow 2014 007

“Yes, mommy. I do want to play in the snow. But let’s have breakfast first, k?

Dogs First Snow 2014 009

“Since we can’t have a snow ball fight, let’s just have a snow tussle.”

Snow Brawl - A Tussle of Two Dogs

Dogs First Snow 2014 006

Snow Beard

Dogs First Snow 2014 018

Snow Face

Dogs First Snow 2014 013

The result of trying to catch snowballs.

If you think these pet photos were cute, you should check out the fun on these other blogs:

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Tis the Season to Cuddle

December 18, 2013

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

My dogs Maya and Pierson are generally not allowed on the furniture. However, there are days when I’m not feeling well where I just want to cuddle. Maya and Pierson really look forward to these times. They know exactly what it means when I start putting the blue sheet on the couch and they get so so excited. Here are some photos from our most recent cuddle time.

Maya and Pierson Cuddle on Couch 1

I love cuddle time as much as Maya and Pierson do.

Maya and Pierson Cuddle on Couch 2

Cuddle Time! But wheres mom? Cuddle time just isn’t the same without her.

Maya and Pierson Cuddle on Couch 4

Yin Yang

Maya and Pierson Cuddle on Couch 5

Maya makes a nice pillow for my dog Pierson.

Maya Cuddling on the Couch 1

Maya loves to rest her head on my lap. She always gets the “shotgun” position on the couch next to me.

Pierson Cuddling on the Couch 1

Pierson likes to cuddle, but he gets hot easily and so eventually scoots to the end of the couch.

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

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Also, join me on Meet the Blogger on my other blog for pet car travel.

DOGTV May Help Some Dogs with Separation Anxiety

December 13, 2013
DogTV

Does your dog watch TV?

Someone shared an interesting and very informative article with me, so I thought I would pass it on:

Nothing is worse than leaving for work or to run errands, only to be mournfully followed to the door by my dog’s heartbreaking puppy-dog eyes pleading for me to stay. Saying goodbye to my pup even for a few hours may be hard on me, but more importantly, and as other dog owners would agree, we worry about how hard it is on them.

According to the AAHA, about 10 to 15 percent of dogs experience some sort of separation anxiety. Unfortunately, when pets feel abandoned they may lash out by misbehaving, whether it’s peeing in the house, chewing on furniture, or partaking in other forms of destruction, or even just barking incessantly.

There have been previous attempts at aiding separation anxiety in dogs, including the Thundershirt, calming collars and simple training methods. Now, a recent digital option to help these anxious pups has appeared in the form of a new DirecTV channel, DOGTV. The channel was created by a group of leading dog experts, including scientist Prof. Nicholas Dodman and dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, and broadcasts 24/7 programming scientifically designed for dogs.

But what does “scientifically designed for dogs” really mean? The main features seem to be that the programs are color-adjusted for dogs’ eyes, and feature 3-6 minute segments meant to relax, stimulate and expose dogs to situations familiar to them from everyday life. It all sounds great in theory, but many owners will still question is if DOGTV actually works.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that any relaxation and stimulation for pets is good, but has also cautioned that dog television may not work for every dog. There may be critics of DOGTV — pet owners who say it has no effect on their pets, that dogs won’t be interested in the visuals TV can present, or that their dogs simply bark at the screen. However, a poll taken by the American Kennel Club revealed that 60 percent of dog owners said their dog watched TV for short periods of time fairly often. So, if the channel can help relieve even some dogs who suffer with separation anxiety and boredom behavior, you may find, like me, that DOGTV is worth investing in.

As absurd as TV for dogs might sound, I must admit that my own dog, Oliver, seems to love it. I already knew he was intrigued by the television — whenever I turned on a movie, he stared at the screen until the movie finished, as though he was truly interested in what he saw. So I tested out DOGTV, and although I don’t have a camera to monitor his activities when I am not there, I believe the television shows distracted and/or entertained him enough to stop chewing my pillows. It provides him with the mental stimulation that I cannot give him while away at work, when he gets tired of sleeping and starts looking for something to entertain him. Instead of just looking out the window each day and then eating a pillow, Oliver has something to keep his attention and calm him down.

So, for pet owners who spend the majority of the day out of the home, and for dogs who suffer with separation anxiety, DOGTV may just be the solution to help not only keep your pet calm and entertained, but also your home in order and your favorite pair of shoes safe. I would suggest reading up on the science behind the new channel and the opinions of experts before investing in DOGTV yourself, but I think overall that the new channel is a great idea.

(The above was written by someone else. I have not used DOGTV for Maya and Pierson, but I can see how it could be helpful for some dogs. I’ve seen studies of how music can sooth a dog, so why not TV? It has sound too, plus visual stimulation. When I worked at a boarding kennel years ago, we had special “rooms” with TVs that dog’s parents could pay extra for. Some of our customers were certain the TV helped soothe their dog because the TV was on for them every day whenever they went to work. I imagine the voice of Rachael Ray and the voices of the characters on soap operas provided a familiar comfort for these dogs when their parents were out of town for several days.)

What do you think of the idea of DOGTV?

Wordless Wednesday – Drawing Zipper

December 11, 2013

Zipper was one of those very special dogs that stay in your heart forever. He was the dog that no other dog will ever compare to. As such, my friend asked that I draw Zipper for her fiancé as a gift. Here is a work in progress of Zipper:

Zipper the Dog Photo

My friend only had a few photos of Zipper to draw from. This one is a bit dark, but it was the best I could work from.

Zipper the Dog Sketch 1

First, I do some sketches. Zipper’s face isn’t quite right in this one, but the body looks right.

Zipper the Dog Head Sketch 2

Since only Zipper’s head needed to be fixed, I redrew the head. The ears are a little bigger, the face isn’t as long, and there are a couple of other subtle differences.

Zipper the Dog Final Sketch

When I felt I had all the shapes right, I did a final sketch and emailed it to my friend for her approval. She said it was perfect, so now for the next step…

Zipper the Dog Drawing 002

I trace my sketch of Zipper onto pastel paper.

Zipper the Dog Drawing 005

I always do the background of my art work first. I generally try to keep the background simple so as not to take away from the drawing of the dog. In this case, I chose green grass because I thought it would be a nice contrast to Zipper’s black and white coat.

Zipper the Dog Drawing 010

The next thing I do is the hardest, and for me, also the most fun. I draw Zipper’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Because this is not just a portrait drawing, these parts are smaller, making it difficult for me to add detail. But it came out pretty good none-the-less.

Zipper the Dog Head 001

Next, I add more detail to Zipper’s head. Trying to get the shading just right is difficult since the photo of Zipper is really dark. But knowing the shape of dog heads, I think I got this right.

More Zipper the Dog Art 06

Almost done! I’ve colored in Zippers body and begin to add shading.

Final Art Work of Zipper the Dog

Ta da! I emailed this to my friend and she absolutely loved it. She said it brought tears to her eyes. That, my friends, is one of the reasons I love to draw.

Visit the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below to see more great pics of pups and other pets:

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Midterms

October 14, 2013

Student Dog Maya Wearing Glasses

Please excuse the mostly wordless posts this week as mom is studying for her midterm exams. We’re trying to help.

Dogs Studying 003

My Dogs Are Perfect, I’m Not

October 5, 2013

Me Maya and Pierson

You may have some misconceptions about my dogs. I bet you think they are perfect and can do no wrong. That’s because most of what you see on my blog are photos of them doing cute or fun things or articles on training tips or health tips. I generally don’t tell you the bad stuff. Why is that? Two reasons. Firstly, my dogs bring me such an enormous joy that I don’t really think about their imperfections. Secondly, I’m a bit embarrassed that I don’t have my dogs completely well-trained. Well, today you are going to get to peek into the real Dawn, Maya, and Pierson.

For the most part, I think many of Maya and Pierson’s imperfections are my own fault. They are dogs and do some doggy things that many in society don’t think are appropriate. But it is up to me to try to work through and redirect their most annoying behaviors. And here they are:

Barking

Pierson barks at almost every little thing. Since he is mostly indoors and it doesn’t really bother anyone but those inside the house, his barking isn’t a big deal. In fact, we’ve gotten really good at tuning him out. But what about when he is outside? As a responsible dog owner, I should really be working with him more on not barking so much. Believe it or not, teaching him to bark on command helped a little with teaching him not to bark on command.

Jumping on People

Even after six years, Maya is really bad about trying to jump on people. I’ve trained her not to jump on me or my husband, but it has been difficult teaching her not to jump on others. She gets so excited that it is difficult to control her when she is in this state. I tend to blame her behavior on the fact that she is an excitable dog, but truthfully her behavior is my fault. When she was younger, I did not actively seek anyone to help me teach her not to jump on them. Sure, I took the opportunity when the chance arose, but there was no consistency. Lately, I’ve been trying to amend that.

Pull No More dog harness

This dog harness / leash helps reduce Maya’s ability to pull.

Walking on a Leash

This is by far my biggest downfall. I have done a number of posts about it and have been great about giving tips. But I haven’t been so good at following my own advice. When we go for a walk, I just want to walk. I don’t want to have to stop and correct. There are some days when I focus on the training, but I don’t follow through on every walk or even every other walk. I think I am only about 20% consistent. This has helped. Maya and Pierson are not as bad as they used to be. But if I would only be consistent, they could be much better.

I have genuinely tried the Gentle Leader on Maya. I followed their instructions and advice very consistently every day for a month. All to no avail. I should try again, but probably won’t.

Pierson Group Walk Photo

Look how much progress Pierson has made with his leash reactive behavior.

Leash Reactive Behavior

Now this one I have been fairly consistent with on with Pierson. And I am so proud of how far he has progressed. The part where I may fall short is when winter comes. We won’t see as many dogs on our walks when the weather gets cold.

Maya is leash reactive too, but in a different way. Where Pierson barks because he hates other dogs, Maya barks because she is excited about other dogs. She does very well in public settings, such as the recent Responsible Pet Owner’s Day event and the Mutt Mixer event. But on walks, she does not do so well. I’m not quite sure how to handle her behavior. The methods that have been doing wonders with Pierson are not working on her. The only things I have not tried out is hiring a professional dog trainer or using an electronic collar, and I don’t want to do either. I can’t afford the first one and I don’t want to resort to the second one.

So there you have it. Maya and Pierson are not perfect because I am not perfect at training them. I think I’ve done a pretty darned good job with what I have done. And I believe they are mostly very good dogs. But I have fallen short on being consistent. It is my fault they are not perfect by society standards. But they are perfect to me. And I love them just the way they are, barking, pulling, jumping, and all (although it would be nice if I would train them to stop doing those things).

Do you have any shortcomings when it comes to training your dog? Come on, admit it. I won’t tell on you if you don’t tell on me. ;)

Quality One-on-One Time with My Dogs

September 28, 2013
Having a Ball in the Fall

Maya & Pierson sitting in front of the Sunflowers in our back yard. Kansas is known for its Sunflowers.

Maya and Pierson are alike in many ways. They both love walks, belly rubs, and, of course, food. But they are also different in many ways. Pierson is generally active and alert while Maya is a bit more laid back. Pierson needs a job while Maya is perfectly happy napping in the sun. And even though Pierson loves affection, he is not good at cuddling like Maya.

So despite loving them both just the same, there are times when one will get special attention over the other. And those times are the quality one-on-one times which help with bonding. Here are some of the things I only do with one or the other:

Maya gets to go to pet events because she gets along well with other dogs. She is also very good with children.

Maya Pet Auto Safety Responsible Pet Owner's Day

Maya won this dog dish at the Responsible Pet Owner’s Day event held in Lawrence, Kansas on September 22nd, 2013. She is sitting in front of our table for Pet Auto Safety.com.

Pierson gets to train on the agility course. Maya gets too excited about the dog treats and isn’t very good on focusing on what I’m trying to get her to do. Plus, she just isn’t very agile.

Pierson Makes it Through the Agility Tunnel

Pierson loves to go through the dog agility tunnel.

Maya gets to cuddle with me when I am not feeling well. Pierson will get on the couch too but you can tell by the look on his face that he’d rather be doing other things. He doesn’t want to get down and do them, though, because he doesn’t like it when Maya gets to do something he doesn’t.

Maya and I with Sugar

Maya cuddles with me on the porch swing as I read “Sugar’s Furry Friend”.

Pierson gets to have more doggy massages because his hair is so long. I spend more time combing him out and checking for insects than I do with Maya. Pierson likes grooming until I try to comb his tail and fluffy butt.

My Dog Pierson Shedding

Shedding season means more one-on-one time for me and Pierson.

Maya gets to go to the dog park because she gets along well with other dogs.

Mutt Run Dog Park Lawrence Kansas

Maya going down one of the nature trails at the Mutt Run dog park in Lawrence, Kansas.

Pierson gets more fetch time play. He is more focused on the game than Maya. Maya gets bored easily. And she tires herself out because at first she is so excited that she does the zoomies rather than bring me back the toy.

Pierson Kong Flyer 1

Pierson loves to play with his Kong Flyer.

Here is something they both love to do together.

Maya and Pierson Playing in Sprinkler

Maya and Pierson love to play in the sprinkler.

What do you enjoy doing with your dogs or cats?

Wordless Wednesday – What Are Maya & Pierson Up To?

September 11, 2013

Besides getting to swim in a public pool last week, what are my dogs Maya and Pierson up to? The following photos are from my phone, so I apologize if they are a bit blurry.

Dogs Waiting Under Table for Food

We prepared a big meal of Chinese dumplings with our friends Sha Sha and Jinbo. Maya & Pierson stayed under the table and patiently waited for someone to drop some food.

Maya Greeting Pawsh Wash Lady

Maya went to the grand opening of the new satellite store for Pawsh Wash and greeted one of the ladies working there with a big wet kiss.

Pierson Looking Out Window

When Pierson is not playing, eating, or sleeping, he is keeping guard. He likes to alert me every time someone walks by the house, especially if that someone is walking their dog.

For more great pet photos, check out other dog blogs on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop:

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