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Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

Buster and Ruca With his Santa’s hat askew, Buster, a black Lab, looks warily over at Ruca, his playful Corgi cousin from New York. “Is she still there?” one could only imagine him thinking as he tries to avoid eye contact with her. Despite their size difference, Ruca herds Buster over to the sofa and makes sure he remains there. Watching the two interact with each other, I am reminded of how looks can be deceiving.

#1 – Not All Things Are What They Seem
25 Things That Are Not What They Seem While thinking about how looks can be deceiving, I came across this list of 25 Things That Are Not What They Seem. It’s an interesting read, especially for trivia buffs!

#2 – The Science of Happiness
Many people fall prey to the deception of what will make them happy. Why are some people happier than others? What do happy people possess that others don’t? Check out this infographic to learn about the science of happiness.

How to Be Happy

#3 – What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

He’s young, but he’s wise. When 13-year-old Logan LaPlante is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers, “happy and healthy.” In this TEDx Talk, he discusses Hackschooling and how it differs from traditional schooling. Traditionally “school is geared toward making a better living, rather than a better life.” Watch his thought-provoking presentation and see if it doesn’t get you thinking about your own education or your children’s education.

#4 – Trash or Treasure?
Do It Yourself Craft Ideas Upcycling is the art of taking something no longer used and converting it into something useful. We deceive ourselves every day by trashing objects that can be transformed and given a new life. Make this the year you begin upcycling and for ideas, check out these Do It Yourself Craft Ideas.

#5 – Self-Deception
“Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, ‘I am of no value,’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.”
Dalai Lama

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Dog Enjoying Car Ride His eyes close as the sun shines on his face and the wind blows through his hair. My dog’s face reflects sheer bliss during a recent car ride. Dogs live in the present moment and savor all of life’s little blessings. Simple things bring them joy: pats on the head, kind and encouraging words, treats to treasure, naps in the sun, running free, being loved. How is it that animals with brains the size of a human two-year-old can figure out the essence of happiness? Perhaps, we should let the world go to the dogs?

#1 – Dogs And Cats
11 Differences Between Cats and Dogs During the Holidays What do dogs and cats think about the holidays? If you’re a dog or a cat owner you’ll get a chuckle out of this BuzzFeed photo series called 11 Differences Between Cats and Dogs During The Holidays.

#2 – More Gift Ideas!
65 Homemade Christmas Gifts From week to week the number of homemade gift ideas on the Internet keeps increasing. This week I found 65 Homemade Christmas Gifts, which provides a wide-ranging collection of ideas and links. My favorite idea? There’s too many to choose from!

#3 – The Right Box

Gift Box Template Maker An obscure cabinet in my house contains boxes of all sizes. Because so many of them are crammed into a small space, I don’t dare remove one box, lest I create a box avalanche. I was elated to find the site Free Template Maker. Using the template maker, I can make small boxes to my exact specifications any time I want. All I have to do is plug in the dimensions and a template is made. Plus, I can re-purpose the cardboard from boxes in my cabinet that are missing lids or bottoms to make new custom boxes. The only limitation to this template maker is that your box template must fit on your printer paper. If you need a larger size, you can probably take a copy of the file on a flash drive to a copy service and have a larger template printed.

#4 – Go With The Flow
Learning To Go With The Flow
“There’s so much to do and so little time.” “Arghh, that person just stole my parking space!” “Look at how long the line is!” “What do you mean you’re all sold out?” Do any of these statements sound familiar to you? If they do, you might want to take a brief refresher course on how to go with the flow. 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow by Zenhabits provides the tips you need.

#5 – Is It A Waste?
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Marthe Troly-Curtin

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Romeo

Romeo
December 1998 to November 2013

As Romeo forces air into his lungs, his rib cage rattles and his entire body shivers. While I watch him breathe, tears roll down my cheeks. He lifts his head at the sound of my sobs and starts to lick the tears from my face. The irony is that he is soothing me, not knowing that I cry for him. Chondrosarcoma bone cancer invades his nasal cavity and threatens our precious time together.

That was yesterday. Today he is gone. Some people would scoff at my sentimentality and say, “He was just a dog,” but I could never say that about Romeo. Sure, he was a dog, but he was so much more than just a dog to me. Having grown up alongside of my children, he was the personification of their youth. Romeo exists in their school essays, in their high school senior portraits, and in almost every one of our family’s home videos. And as my children grew up and went off on their own, he was never far from their thoughts. During calls to home, they would always ask about their dog Romeo. This reflects how much Romeo was a part of their lives and a part of our family. Romeo was also my muse, often sitting on my lap as I wrote blog posts, and occasionally the inspiration of a post himself. As the house gradually emptied itself of kids, Romeo remained by my side, a comforting and constant companion. Throughout the day, he was my shadow. We worked on projects together, did the laundry together, watched television together, and every night, he nestled next to me as we drifted off to sleep. Last of all, Romeo was my little love. This smart, long-bodied, short-legged, mischievous mutt managed to capture a piece of my heart that will forever be his.

I’m incredibly sad now that he’s gone, but I’m also very grateful for every day that we shared. As my head and my heart deal with my loss, I sit on the garden swing and say the words I would murmur to him during his last few months:

When you are no longer by my side,
I’ll sit on the garden swing
And rock back and forth,
Just like we used to.

I’ll watch the squirrels play
And listen to the birdies sing,
Just like we used to.

I’ll turn my face to the sun and close my eyes
And savor each and every moment,
Just like you used to.

I’ll long to stroke the fur on your back
And tell you how much I love you,
Just like I used to.

 And then I’ll cry a few more tears,
Just because . . .
I really miss you.

(To My Dog Romeo written by Linnell Chang)

Romeo on swing

Romeo Waiting on the Garden Swing

If you’ve ever loved a pet, please share this tribute to my dog Romeo.

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Sweet Potato Fries For Dogs Hold the ketchup! Hold the salt! These baked sweet potato fries are perfect just the way they are! Perfect for dogs, that is. If most people could adjust their palates to accept baked fries with no added sodium, these would be perfectly delicious for humans, too!

Sweet Potato Fries For Dogs
Adapted from a recipe from Food.com

INGREDIENTS
Uncooked sweet potatoes or yams

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Wash the skins of the sweet potatoes thoroughly and blot dry.

3. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.

4. Cut the halves in lengthwise slices.*

5. Place the slices on a cookie sheet in a single layer.

6. Bake in the oven for about 3 hours.

7. After the fries cool down, it’s time for a taste test! Romeo keeps his eyes on the prize and he lifts his paw to a begging position . . . sniff, sniff . . . yes, he likes it! Romeo's Taste Test

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I experimented with two varieties of sweet potatoes. My dog liked them both, but obviously the orange variety is more attractive-looking.

2. Try cutting the sweet potatoes as uniformly as possible for consistent baking. Leave the skin on for added fiber and micronutrients.

3. I set my oven to 280 degrees F. and baked the fries for 3 hours. Some of the fries were crunchy and some were chewy at this point. If your dog likes them crunchier, remove the crunchy ones from the sheet and continue to bake the chewy ones a little longer.

4. *As the slices bake and lose moisture, they will shrink. Take this into account when you are slicing the sweet potatoes and make the slices the appropriate size for your dog.

5. Sweet potatoes will release a sticky syrup as they bake, so I covered my baking sheets with parchment paper.

WOOF! WOOF! ENJOY!

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Bathing Birds The lyrics “Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath . . . ” played in my head as I watched a Mourning Dove and a Lesser Goldfinch shake and shimmy while bathing in the cool waters of my backyard fountain. With triple-digit temperatures predicted for the next couple of days, I have no doubt that the fountain will be a HOT spot for my backyard friends!

#1 – Hot Weather Tips
Hot days create dangerous conditions for pets. If you have a pet, refresh your hot weather knowledge by reading these articles:
ASPCA’s Hot Weather Tips
Keep Your Pet Cool During Dog Days of Summer
How to Cool Your Cat Down in the Summer

#2 – Travel Smart

Travel Tips

Use straws to bring small amounts of liquid with you

Whether traveling near or far, you are sure to find at least one travel tip you’ll want to try from the article 14 Clever Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip Awesome.

#3 – Can You Unlock the Lock?
If you’ve ever imagined yourself being as clever as Sherlock Holmes, you’ll want to try playing CombinationLock. With a timer ticking away, you’re given clues to determine the lock’s 3-digit combination. Additional clues can be requested to make the game easier and an additional reel of digits can be added to make it more challenging.

#4 – Unwoven Light
Soo Sunny Park Art Installation Artists push boundaries to find ways to express themselves and to interpret the world around them. American artist Soo Sunny Park used chain link fencing and iridescent Plexiglas tiles to create an ethereal fantasy of light. She says of her artwork Unwoven Light, installed at Rice University in Houston, Texas, “Like a net, the sculpture is a filter that is meant to capture the light that is already there and force it to reveal itself.”

#5 – Your Journey
“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”
― Asha Tyson

Have a great weekend!

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Tails of Love: Dogs with Cancer

Photos by Linnell Chang

Cancer does not discriminate. It strikes the young and the old, the tall and the short, males and females, and even Cockapoos. When my dog Romeo developed chondrosarcoma, I became an involuntary member of a group of owners whose pets have cancer. Within that group, I joined a subgroup, whose members have opted to try to save their pets. We are the ones who stubbornly maintain hope, who cannot bear the thought of euthanizing our beloved “family member,” and who are willing to sacrifice much in order to save our pets.

By the end of this week, I will have driven Romeo, for 19 days straight, to a veterinary hospital half-an-hour away from home, waited one to two hours each day during his treatment, and then returned home. While sitting and waiting for Romeo, I often chat with the parents of some of the other cancer “regulars.” There’s a certain camaraderie in this group, because we relate to the tough decisions we each had to make — the kinds of decisions that make us look crazy to other people. Look at the faces of these dogs. Look into their soulful eyes and then put yourself in the shoes of their owners. What would you do?

Shadow is a bright-eyed 12-year-old Rat Terrier. Looking at him you would never guess that he has an inoperable brain tumor. Unlike my Romeo, who has a good prognosis, Shadow has no prognosis. With or without treatment he may only have 6-8 weeks to live. Shadow sits on his dad’s lap in the waiting room. As Laurie, the radiation therapist, walks up to Shadow, he turns around and licks his dad’s face as if to say goodbye. Laurie takes Shadow away, but not before his dad can give her a plastic bag filled with Shadow’s favorite treats. One morning Shadow’s dad and I were discussing the high cost of cancer treatment and he told me how guilty he would feel, if he spent the money that could save his dog on on anything else. “I couldn’t sit on a beach somewhere, knowing that the money could have been spent trying to save my best friend.”

Joey, a rambunctious 4-year-old Black Lab, walks happily into the waiting room. Oozing charm, he’s a popular guy as he greets everyone he passes along the way. Joey wears a double barrier, a large cushioned “donut” and a flexible “cone of shame” around his neck, to prevent him from reaching a shaved and sutured area on his hip. Joey had an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma removed from that area and is undergoing radiation treatment. Chemotherapy may loom in his future, as well. Without any treatment, Joey was given a prognosis of 3 to 6 months. Whenever Laurie comes to take him back, Joey stands on his hind legs and puts his front paws squarely on her shoulders, so they can “dance.”

Rocky, an 8½-year-old Bullmastiff lies on the floor panting. He’s clearly not enjoying the hot day and his demeanor shows it. He knows what’s important, though, because sometimes in the middle of a pant, he stops to lick the floor. This big cuddly guy has insulinoma, a malignant neoplasm that grows on the pancreas. Ever since the surgery to remove a tumor-infested portion of Rocky’s pancreas, his dad has struggled with the serious issues of Rocky’s fluctuating insulin levels.

Everyone who sees Molly’s sweet grey and white face, wants to approach and pet her. This 15-year-old poodle mix had surgery to remove a cancerous mammary tumor and is now undergoing chemotherapy. Even though Molly’s mom has a brand new grandbaby and a 92-year-old father in need of surgery, Molly is still getting the best care possible.

Sophie, a 9½-year-old flat-coated retriever mix, hobbles into the waiting room. After having her right front leg amputated, Sophie is learning to walk again. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma, one of the deadliest bone cancers, Sophie is undergoing chemotherapy and will have additional diagnostic tests to see if the cancer has spread. Sophie’s mom rescued her once before and is now trying to rescue her again.

Wearing a pink harness and a scarf adorned with pink cancer ribbons, little Lillie snuggles in her mom’s arms. This shy 10-year-old Miniature Dachsund is here for a post-treatment check-up. Her parents live far away, so during her three-week radiation treatment for thyroid cancer, she stayed at the hospital. Her parents missed her so much that they drove for hours to pick her up every weekend. Everyone had big smiles on their faces today as Lillie left the hospital, 1-year cancer free.

As sad as it’s been to see these dogs fight cancer, I feel a sense of hope. The amount of hope, love, and trust in the waiting room is palpable. Here, I know I am not alone. There are other pet parents sacrificing more than me to give their pets the necessary treatment. No matter what happens to Romeo and the other dogs, I know that all who are involved  — the devoted owners and the hospital’s caring and highly-trained staff  — have done all that we could do.

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about cancer in pets and to learn how you can help, check out these sites:
Morris Animal Foundation
Veterinary Cancer Society
Pet Cancer Awareness

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dog in raincoat One step out of the front door, one downward dour look, and one step back into the house – I could tell that no amount of coaxing was going to persuade my 14-year-old dog to go for a walk in the rain. Inside, he looked at me with pleading old eyes, as if to say, “I’m not going outside, Mom. The rain is one thing, but this silly raincoat is another! How embarrassing to be seen like this!” Even though I thought he looked cute, I relented and we headed to the backyard instead.

#1 – Dog Love
man and his dog Humans and dogs share a special bond. This series of photos titled, “Let’s Take A Minute To Appreciate Our Dogs” proves that point. Seeing these photos will tug at your heartstrings and make you smile.

#2 – Gifts that Give Back
Giving gifts that give back is a win-win situation. There are websites that organize lists of charities, so all you have to do is purchase a gift card from one of the sites, give it to someone, and let the recipient choose which charity to donate to. So whether the recipient’s worthy cause supports education, animal rescue, or food for the hungry, etc., you’ll both feel good about the gift. Here are a few sites worth checking out:

Network for Good

Donors Choose

Greater Good

#3 – Samsuta Candles
samsuta candles Seeing this photo of a DIY Samsuta Candle and reading the easy directions, I eyed the bag of freshly-picked Samsutas sitting on my kitchen counter. I can only imagine what a wonderful aroma this candle must release as it burns. Honestly, I haven’t had a chance to make one yet, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list.

#4 – Rockwell’s Inspiration
Norman Rockwell inspiration Have you ever wondered what or who provided the inspiration for some of Norman Rockwell’s paintings? Take a look at The Photographs Behind Norman Rockwell’s Iconic Paintings and then compare them to the images of the paintings. It’s interesting to notice what he added or changed along the way.

#5 – Within Each of Us
“There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Enjoy your weekend!

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