Be Nice: you make it a wonderful life

During the Christmas season, one of my favorite things to do is watch "It's A Wonderful Life". For me, it's just not Christmas without George Bailey and Clarence the Angel.If you've never seen the movie, it tells the story of a despondent man who contemplates suicide, believing the world would have been better off without him. His guardian angel-in-training, Clarence, comes to earth to give him the opportunity to see what the world would have been like had he never been born.George is … [Read more...]

Oh, be nice: a challenge for the new year

That's me in 2005, up on scaffolding plastering walls at a school in Mexico. I had so much fun in 2004, I went back the next year!

I'm trying to be nice. Honest, I am. But it's not easy.For years now, I've been working on a book idea about loving your neighbors. The idea came to me after I went on a mission trip to Mexico in 2004. At the time, I hated flying, didn't speak Spanish, knew zero sign language and was completely inept with both ball peen hammer and ball point pen. And yet I got on a plane and flew to Mexico to do construction at a school for deaf children.It's not as if I hadn't volunteered before. I'd … [Read more...]

If your dog could talk, would he speak like a preschooler?

Yup, my dog has a blog.

A friend posted on Facebook today: "Who decided that if dogs were able to speak and type they would do so with a speech impediment that makes you feel illterate trying to read it?"I understand what she means. As part of a community of dog writers, I see a lot of pets with blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and to be honest, sometimes I have no idea what they're trying to say.  Dat for that, da for the, and a host of grammatical errors (like "i has not" and "U gotted") sometimes mean I … [Read more...]

Dexter has two mommies – and that’s reality

 I just wanted to share with readers a link to my friend Carol's blog, Fidose of Reality, and her most recent post about "coming out."Over the few years I've known Carol, she went from editor at a dog magazine's blog to host of her own blog, Fidose of Reality, where she writes about all things dog. I think it's a little ironic that it's taken her this long to share perhaps her most important "dose of reality" with readers.I'm pretty sure I met Carol at BlogPaws in 2010, but I … [Read more...]

When religion and spirituality meet, sometimes there’s smoke

IMG_20131022_080341

For some time now, my aunt has been telling me to sage my house - sage, meaning burn sage in a cleansing ritual to rid the rooms of negative energy. She's also talked to me before about balancing my chakra, too. When I was younger, I pooh-poohed that kind of thing, but as I've aged I've become more interested in the spirituality that I'd always been taught was ... well, bad. Wrong. Evil.But the last decade or so, I've begun to question a lot of things about organized religion -  not the f … [Read more...]

Auction fundrasier includes puppy; should live animals be given away as prizes?

Seven-week old Goldendoodle puppy. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, user Gandydancer

There's a discussion going on among some of my Facebook friends about a local charity raising money with a silent auction that includes one "Golden" dog owner package, complete with a new Goldendoodle puppy.The organization is CURE Childhood Cancer Association, which "provides emotional, educational, and financial assistance to area families whose children are treated in the oncology and hematology department at Golisano Children's Hospital" at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. … [Read more...]

Why “free to good home” can be a death sentence for your dog

This image, of a dog given way in Boston on Craigslist, is making the rounds on Facebook.

 This image is making the rounds on Facebook. I have a difficult time looking at things like this, partly because I'm sent these kinds of pictures daily. It can be overwhelming and, after time, desensitize you.But for some reason, this one caught my eye. Maybe it's because I'm sympathetic to the "need to rehome" situation. We were there a few years ago, when I brought home a little pup to foster, decided to keep her, and then started having major behavior problems with her. In short, new dog … [Read more...]

How do you find the balance between healthy and convenient meals?

I was watching "Recipe Rehab" this morning, the cooking show where chefs take a family's favorite dish and rehab it to make it healthier. Two chefs come up with recipes, and then the family makes both, deciding which tastes better, is easier to make, and is healtheir (determined by Everyday Health). One chef is crowned the winner.The new recipes usually include ingredients the families don't usually cook with or steps that they don't normally have to take.  It's always fun to watch families l … [Read more...]

Dog training, the Shedd Aquarium way

I saw a story this weekend on NBC Nightly News that highlights positive dog training in new way: training shelter dogs at Shedd Aquarium using the same techniques used on dolphins.I noticed the similarities between dog training and sea lion training last summer when I was at our local zoo; the trainers used clickers and rewards to teach sea lions tricks and new behaviors. I know a lot of dog owners who scoff at trainers who preach humane treatments and eschew the choke, prong and shock c … [Read more...]

Living more with less

The campus at the International Christian School for the Deaf in Rio Bravo. The campus was self-sustainig - and with a reverse osmosis well, blessed with the cleanest, most delicious water on the planet. In the nearby village? Not quite so fortunate.

The homes in this village were ramshackle sheds, put together with scrap metal, cardboard and whatever other materials the owners could salvage from the sides of the road or the dump. Each small plot of land - about 30 x 30 feet - had a cement floor and two holes in the yard, one for water to come up and one for waste to go down. A drainage ditch ran through the community, stagnant sewage-filled water littered with plastic bottles and other castoff garbage. The hot sun beat down on the village … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X