The Origin of Dogs

Today I want to talk about dogs. If you’ve been around these parts for any length of time you might know that A) I love dogs and B) our two babes- Lylee and Enzo- are mixed breeds & rescue dogs. (Ly came to us from friends, but they originally got her from a shelter.)

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December 2013

Please note, I do not hate or judge purebred puppy parents as long as you buy/bought from a reputable breeder. It takes time and patience to find a breeder that loves their dogs, treats them well, and has all the proper medical information/paperwork. If you decide on Tuesday that you want a boxer and you buy it on Wednesday from a “breeder” then we’ve got a problem. Puppy mills are a real thing and they’re deadly, corrupt, and dirty. Google “puppy mills” if you don’t believe me. If you truly love dogs and want to add a family member, please take the time to research your breeder. I’m not trying to be controversial- I just want to promote ownership responsibility.

Alright, back to shelter dogs.

I want to specifically talk about mutts, so before I do that let me just share this PSA:
You can find purebreds in shelters and pounds. Beagles and pitbulls are very popular pound purebreds. Also, there are COUNTLESS purebred rescues around the country that specialize in re-homing specific breeds. These dogs find themselves homeless because of owner death or divorce, moving restrictions, or lifestyle changes. We have many friends who have purebred dogs that came from rescues or shelters.

Ok, moving on.

This week my county’s dog pound posted a Facebook album with +8 dogs in it that had to be adopted, otherwise some would be euthanized. I shared the post and talked with K about it, but I really don’t know if or how many dogs were adopted before the cut off time. I do know that three dogs lost their lives: Gus, Buddy, and Louie. All three were described as friendly and happy and long-time pound residents. I know there’s war and poverty and hunger in the world, but this kind of thing crushes my heart into a thousand pieces. I cried when I read that three dogs didn’t get to find forever homes.

I want to address the two biggest arguments against rescue dogs/mutts:

  1. I want a specific breed. As I mentioned, there are purebreds in shelters. And I get the struggle- I see videos of corgis or retrievers and my heart actually spills over and I want to nuzzle my face into a puppy. But I challenge you to look into Lylee’s eyes and not fall in love with her. Have a conversation with her and tell me that she’s not exactly like the videos of purebred “talking” huskies. In my opinion, the best part of mixed breeds is the mixed bag. Enzo has herding instincts like a collie but he’s so fast like a whippet. And we’re not even 100% sure that’s what he is! Unless you’re using your dog for their breed-specific-purpose (hunting dogs, herding dogs), rescuing a mutt is 100% in your wheelhouse and you have the opportunity to save a life or two. (And mutts can be trained for herding or hunting or service, too!)
  2. They’re unpredictable. People lean toward golden retrievers as a family pet and others buy German Shepherds or Rotts because they are protective breeds… but you can never be 100% sure that’s what you’re getting. And I can guarantee that you can find a family dog or protective dog in a shelter- it might just be a great dane/lab mix or a pitbull/husky combination. Two of the gentlest dogs I’ve had the privilege of knowing were mutts- one (Enzo) is a whippet/I don’t really know and the other (Bruno) was a collie/shepherd mix. Amazingly gentle, kind, people-pleasing dogs. Have I been bitten by mutts? Yes. Have I been bitten by purebreds? Yes. They all have teeth; they all have personalities. Mixed breeds tend to be of mild temperament, actually. That’s in comparison to purebreds that have somewhat strong (albeit predictable) personalities.

*Also, many shelters and pounds take the time to get to know the dogs there. They can tell you if that dog gets along with kids, cats, other dogs, etc. Typically it’s not a guess- they’ve figure out if the dog is trained or house broken, hyper or calm. A breeder can tell you about a puppy’s parents, but when you adopt an adult dog from a shelter you’re typically getting exactly what you’re told.

Let me reiterate that I do not look down my nose at people that buy their dogs from a reputable breeder! My best friend has a purebred dachshund and I love her and I love Ernie. My other best friend adopted a 6 month old lab mix from the shelter. Our friends and family have taken both paths and that’s ok. Personally, K and I will always get rescue dogs- it’s something that’s important to both of us.

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So here’s what I’m saying: If you are thinking about adding a dog to your family, please check out your local pound or shelter first. Thousands of good, loving, intelligent dogs are killed every year because they had the bad luck to end up with crappy humans that dumped them at a shelter or left them to fend for themselves and they ended up in the pound.

And if you’re still hellbent on a purebred, please check out specialty rescues first. And then research, research, research top-notch breeders. Do not contribute to the nasty puppy mill market. (And report puppy mills when you come across them!)

AND if you are a pet parent or you have family members that own pets, please don’t abandon those animals if something terrible happens to the humans… Please. As gruesome as it is, we have homes for Lylee and Enzo if anything were to happen to us. And I can guarantee you that if something happened to my parents their two dogs, four cats, and one rabbit would not end up in a shelter or a pound. Same with my in-laws’ kitty. Please remember that as a pet parent, you’re responsible for that life- they 100% rely on you.

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And now I’m stepping down from my pulpit to snuggle on my babies and convince the husband that we need a third πŸ™‚

Tell me about your fur-kid(s)! Mutt or purebred, rescued or bred- I want to know about the dog that has your heart!

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Good Stuff on a Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, folks. Are you having a quiet week? I am, surprisingly… Our weekends are totally bonkers this month, though, so calm weekdays are a blessing.

I’m a little early to Chelsea‘s Friday link-up party, but I have a story, some photos, and a few blog posts that I just can’t wait to share!

S T O R Y
I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that my husband runs his own company. He sells all over the US, but the majority of our materials come from local shops and companies. There are a few businesses that he ends up visiting every week multiple times a week, and they know his name and his employees.

He was driving past one of those businesses last week and saw that they’d posted something new on their outdoor sign. It read something like, “Thanks to the person who hit our cat and didn’t stop.” I don’t know what it’s like in those big cities, but us small-town-folk love our pets, especially our shop dogs & cats. K had met the cat (Oliver) on multiple occasions and knew that he was primarily an inside cat- apparently he’d slipped out.

K stopped by their shop the next day to order some materials (and drop off the sympathy cookies I made for the employees) and heard the story: A customer came flying into the parking lot, drawing all the employees out of the building, and pulled from his truck a box with the deceased cat. He saw him lying on the side of the road, recognized him, and brought him to the business for a proper burial (which he got). The employees were obviously heartbroken and felt the best way to honor their fallen furry co-worker was to adopt another friend from the local humane society. They couldn’t choose and came home with two new babes.

The husband sent me a photo
The husband sent me a photo.

So in the end, Oliver’s death gave a new home to two little kittens (one of whom was christened “Oliver” by the humane society! Fate!)

P H O T O S
I mentioned last Monday that K and I took some anniversary photos with our tree. Have I elaborated about the tree here? I feel like I have but maybe not…

Well, if not I’ll give you a one-sentence-rundown: On our first anniversary we planted a tree on my parents’ 75 acre property (where we hope to live near some day) and we promised to take a picture with the tree every year to document our little family.

A progression of our photos...
A progression of our photos…

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We got a little artistic this year…

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And Kayla captured some candid ones (which I LOVE)…

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. . .

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Thank you to my best friend Kayla!! She’s our official family photographer πŸ˜‰

B L O G S (that you should check out…)
This week a few ladies talked about some really important or informative stuff. I encourage you to visit:

And that about sums it up on this fine Wednesday. Chelsea’s link-up actually happens on Friday so you have plenty of time to take note of something good, write about it, and link up with her!

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Tell Me Something Good Friday!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, y’all! I’m so happy the weekend is here! And it only took four days to arrive since Monday was labor-less! On Saturday K and I are are headed to a wedding (which I know will be breathtakingly gorgeous) and on Sunday I’m volunteering with my church (read about it here!). Yay for Friday!

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Today is going to be a random hodgepodge of things, so stick with me to the end so you can experience allll my ramblings.

Currently…

Reading… Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman. I haven’t decided if I like this book yet… It doesn’t move very fast, but I’m only 1/4 through it, so time will tell.

Watching… the movies on my fall film challenge list! I have roughly 5 completed, and I will do an update on October 2nd! The first one I crossed off was Ferris Bueller… Bueller… Bueller πŸ˜‰

Listening to… Ben Rector and Lady Antebellum. We are going to two concerts next week (one on Thursday in Cleveland and one on Friday in Pittsburgh) so I’m trying to learn some last minute lyrics! Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this… hehe!

Waiting for… FALL! Summer will not relent and she’s is trying to squeeze in as many hazy, hot days as she can. I hope I get my hands on a PSL this weekend!!

Remembering… where I was 14 years ago. It’s incredible to think how much time has gone by since 9/11 but I can still visualize that day like it was last week. Today is a day to smile at your neighbor, thank a servicemember, and say a prayer thanking God for our blessings and opportunities!

Check It Out!

My amazing friend Dana shows you how to make a plaque with you favorite quote or saying! She’s so darn creative and this is a great looking, inexpensive way to find the perfect quote for a friend (or for your living room)!

Danielle talks about the highs and lows of adopting an “at risk” dog. She is such a dedicated, smart dog momma! Check out the progress she and her husband (and Lexi!) have made! Plus you get to swoon over the cutest photos of Lexi!

Speaking Of…

This weekend is PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend! Both of our fur babies were adopted from a humane society or rescue. Did you know that 25% of shelter dogs are purebreds?? I think some people believe there’s something wrong with a rescue dog (or mutt) but usually the previous owner just didn’t know that extent of responsibilities and work a pet requires. Many shelter animals are between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old because that’s when the cuteness has “worn off” and it’s evident that they were not given any training. If you are looking to add four paws to your family I urge you to check out a local shelter or rescue group! So many pups, kitties, bunnies, and more are waiting for their forever homes!!

Last but Not Least

I found this questionnaire from Nelle at Simply Love and now I’m going to share a bit about me with you!

| 1 | Favorite food? I looove seafood. Fish, shellfish, seaweed (ok, the last one is a stretch).
| 2 | High heels or flip flops? Typically flip-flops but when I find some comfortable heels I love pairing them with skinny jeans!
| 3 | Favorite places to shop? Target. But also World Market and Old Navy. And Marshalls. I love a deal!
| 4 | Standard coffee order? Oh geez. There is no standard. At the local coffee shop I get a Tea Latte ( 1/2 earl gray, 1/2 steamed milk + vanilla syrup ) but at Starbucks I go for a PSL, Cinnamon Dolce latte, or Caramel Brulee latte. And at home I just do coffee with milk.
| 5 | Must-have road-trip snack? Coffee. But also beef jerky. Is that weird? Haha!
| 6 | DIY or hire it out? Ehhh, it really depends on the task. We usually try to DIOS (do it our selves). Ha!
| 7 | Top 5 TV shows? Once Upon a Time, Downton Abbey, The Mindy Project, Blue Bloods (reruns), & Cold Case.
| 8 | Favorite book? My favorite classic is Alice in Wonderland. I love the Harry Potter series. I also love Philipa Gregory books.
| 9 | Favorite form of exercise? Hot yoga. It’s the only exercise I enjoy.
| 10 | How tall are you? Β 5’5″
| 11 | Do you try something new at restaurants or stick to your favorites? I tend to stick to favorites at our regular restaurants, but when we go on vacation I love trying new things!
| 12 | One makeup item you can’t live without? Concealer. My teenage acne is now my twenties acne. UGH.
| 13 | What’s on your nightstand? A lamp, a bottle of water, my stuffed bunny, my Gameboy DS, and roughly 7 books.
| 14 | One thing motherhood has taught you? I’m not a mom. But I love my dogs more than anything and I love my “niece” Elliot more than I thought possible.
| 15 | Music that reminds you of high school? Oh man… Anything alternative. Fallout Boy, The Academy Is…, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Used, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, etc.
| 16 | If you could live anywhere in the world other than your current city, where would it be? Switzerland. Hands down, no discussion.
| 17 | Something about you we might not know? Between us, my parents, and my in-laws we have 10 pets. When I was 6 I broke my shin/leg (both bones). My favorite color is yellow.
| 18 | Websites you read/browse besides blogs? Pinterest, Facebook, other social media sites. Plus blogs, haha.
| 19 | Morning person or night owl? I’m a night owl but I’m trying so desperately to wake up and enjoy mornings!
| 20 | What’s your best feature? My curiosity. I like to know why things happen which leads to learning and reading and exploring and traveling.

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. . .

What are you weekend plans?

-Louise

My Passions | Blog-tember Day 4

*Happy Friday!*

I was a little hesitant to commit to the fabulous Blog-tember Challenge (hosted by Bailey Jean), but with the encouragement of Stephanie I’ve decided to approach it like an a la carte challenge and participate on the days that I don’t have anything concocted.
…like today!

Friday, September 4: What are you passionate about?

Easy enough prompt, yes? I am passionate about:

  • animals
    Hands down, my deepest worldly passion runs about on four legs (sometimes less) and barks, growls, meows, grunts, and moos. Honestly, I could do a month’s worth of posts dedicate to animal rights and behaviors and welfare and cruelty… but I’ll save it. I use cruelty-free products, brake for squirrels, help lost pets find their way home, and share a bed with two cold noses (and a human one). My career goal is totally focused around animals and someday I hope to be saving lots of lives!
  • fall
    I hate wishing the days away, but I can’t wait for the leaves to turn and the temperature to drop. I love October (and my birthday!) and the fall weather and fall foods and marching band and leaves and hot drinks and scarves and boots and clouds and everything fall. It makes me incredibly happy and every year I look forward to the changing seasons!
  • my relationships
    I know that I drive my husband crazy because I’m constantly observing. I observe myself, him, our relationship, other people, past interactions… EVERYTHING. But it makes me a more conscious human. Sometimes I lay in bed and watch our dogs sleep or listen to K breathe. Sometimes I sit quietly in the living room and take in the wall color and the fireplace and the bookshelves, and I feel so grateful to share this blessed life with my husband and our friends and our family.
  • reading, writing, and scrapbooking
    I love to learn and create and savor memories (captured in pictures). These three things are my hobbies and I feel so refreshed when I can dedicate time to each activity.

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There are things I wish I was passionate about/hope to be passionate about, too! These include yoga, cooking, and being a mom someday. I think I’ll work on yoga first… HA!

What are you passionate about?

-Louise

Brave Love Blog

Happy Birthday, Bear!

Today is our oldest fur-baby’s birthday. She is 4 years young today and handling the milestone quite well.

Lylee

A few weeks ago I did a post for Enzo (read it here) but today will be all about Lylee.

Name || Lylee
DOB || June 17, 2011
Gotcha Date || December 7, 2012
Heritage || Husky, Boxer, Lab?
Eye Color || Brown
Fur Color || Golden blonde
Weight || +65lbs.
Nicknames || Ly, Lylee Bear, Bear, Bearface, Wy-wee, Big Bear, Wy-wee Bear, Lyler, Fluffy butt, Wywer

Adoption Story
Lylee was originally adopted from a local Ohio shelter, but not by us. She spent her first year with friends of ours (Kelsey & Andy). Unforeseen circumstances forced them to make the heartbreaking decision to re-home Lylee, but Kelsey was determined to keep her out of the shelter. After pleading with my parents (& Kyle, since we’d be married in less than a year) I told Kelsey that we would take her. On December 7, 2012 we drove an hour north to meet Kelsey and load up Lylee, her dog house, and everything else that came with her.

I remember it was storming that night but Lylee hopped right into my car, laid down, and fell asleep.

Hunting for a Dog House
We adopted Ly in December, got married in April, and I moved into the apartment with Kyle right away. Unfortunately Lylee stayed at my parents’ house. Since they’re gone most of the day, she was tied out a lot. (If you know Lylee you know that she does not like being tied out.) These days of isolation brought out a new personality in her- she became fearful of storms, aggressive toward some dogs, and very anxious.

We could see the transformation and knew something had to be done… so we bought a house. Lylee was the first one to move in.

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Growing the Family
After we bought our house I started casually browsing PetFinder. (I still tend to casual browse PetFinder……) Lylee was getting more dog-aggressive/anxious and needed a sibling. I finally convinced K of this and on December 7, 2013 (yes, one year after taking in Ly) we set out for a boxer-mix. Instead, we found Enzo.

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We knew the deciding factor would be Lylee. When we introduced them in our driveway Lylee gave him a few sniffs, pushed him around with her nose, and decided he would do as a brother.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
Lylee is a very anxious dog. She’s also very friendly & loyal, but when she gets scared (other dogs, loud children, etc.) she reacts with fight rather than flight… Since we brought her home we’ve been working on this- she has been to obedience school, seen a dog trainer/whisperer, and taken medication. She still quivers in a bad storm and barks at foreign dogs, but she has a few dogs that she gets along with and she’s starting to relax on her own. (She’s been medication-free for over a year now, with the exception of occasional Benadryl.)

She’s a handful but she’s my favorite handful.

#ThrowbackWednesday? A puppy-pic from Ly's first owners.
#ThrowbackWednesday? A puppy-pic from Ly’s first owners.

Princess Lylee
The best part about Lylee is her personality. Some people have one-sided conversations with their pets; my dog actually talks back. She will ask for a walk (daily), she’ll demand food, she will tell you if her ball is stuck under the couch, and she will come find you and tell you when she’d like to go outside. She sits on her brother to get him to move. She tricks him into giving up his toys. She snuggled into the bed, all by herself.

She is the smartest dog I have ever come across. She knows more than a few words and her reasoning skills are incredible. She associates my tennis shoes with a walk, a chain link fence with dogs, and steam/smoke from the stove with smoke detectors (my bad).

I am so grateful that Lylee crossed our path and enter our life when she did- she’s an amazing critter. Happy Birthday, Big Bear! Love you!

Dog food + Whipped Cream!
Dog food + Whipped Cream!

(Am I the only one that gets puppy fever when looking through old photos??)

-Louise