Shiny Things

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What girl doesn’t like shiny things: diamonds, pretty shoes, new cars, a bright smile? Well, this Golden girl is no different, and I recently received the best shiny thing ever from not one but two very bright and shiny blogs.

It’s the Shine On award, and it’s a gift from Monty and Harlow at How Sam Sees It and Bernie at Bernie the Frenchie.  As with most things in life, this award comes with a few rules:
  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2.  Acknowledge that blogger on your blog, and link back.
  3. Share seven random things about yourself. 
  4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On award, provide a link to their blog in your post, and notify them on their blog.

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 To Monty and Harlow: thank you, thank you, thank you! Handsome Monty and beautiful Harlow are two Golden Retriever rescues living the good life in Arizona with their loving human mom and dad. You can click here to meet them and read more about their adventures and all they do to support Arizona Golden Retriever Connection (AZGRC). And to Bernie: thank you, thank you, thank you! Bernie is a cute French Bulldog who celebrated his first birthday this past December. He lives in North Devon, England, with his human mom and dad and a new little human brother. Click here to read more about Bernie and join him on one of his beautiful beach visits.

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 So, I’ve completed #1 and #2 under the rules. That must mean that it’s time to move on to #3–seven random things about me.

  1. I start every day with a perimeter search of my yard.
  2. I’m afraid of bugs that buzz.
  3. I won’t walk over manhole covers.
  4. I have to be kissed before I’ll eat.
  5. I deliver a big burp to my human daddy every morning after breakfast.
  6. I’m very vocal.
  7. Black and White Sunday is my favorite blogging day.

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And finally #4–nominating my blogging friends for their very own Shine On award.

  • Adventures of a Dog Mom–fun times with Labs Boomer and Dottie and their fun humans . . . plus a whole lot of delicious edibles for dogs and their people
  • FOZZIE.M–if you haven’t met fozziemum, you’ve missed a real treat and a yummy taste of life in rural Australia
  • MusingsbyMartyManx–Marty is a kitty cat friend (cats and dogs can be friends, at least through a blog) who lives with one kitty cat brother and three puppy dog sisters
  • MyDogLikes–product reviews and fun adventures with Golden Retrievers Harley and Charlie
  • paws2smile–the adventures of an American Bulldog named Storm, who recently celebrated her fifth birthday

If you haven’t met these wonderful bloggers, I hope you’ll stop by for a visit. And to my nominees, if you’ve received the Shine On award before, you can now consider yourself to be super shiny!


Creating the Perfect Canine Carnival Collar

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While most of the world is deep into Valentine’s Day festivities, my thoughts have turned to carnival season. About this time last year, I wrote about South Louisiana’s obsession with Mardi Gras. (You can click here to refresh your memory.) The season begins on the evening of Epiphany (January 6) and runs right up until midnight on Mardi Gras, which isn’t until March 4 this year. For almost two solid months, humans will enjoy king cakes, balls (not the kind you chase and catch, but the kind where you dance), and parades. Fortunately, dogs get to have a little carnival fun, too. In Baton Rouge, we have our very own parade just for us this weekend. It’s called the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society (CAAWS) Mystic Krewe of Mutts Parade, and attending this one has been on my bucket list for quite some time. But oh, the horror, I didn’t have anything to wear.

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Never fear. My human mommy had an idea. Several years ago, she saw a little tutu for sale and thought, “That sure would make a cute dog collar.” And then she thought, “I can make that.” Uh oh. That usually means that Mommy is going to spend way too much money and way too much time making something that she just should have bought in the first place. But in this case, the fancy children’s-tutu-turned-canine-collar project has worked out well. She made my pretty Christmas collar and a jeweled collar for me to wear to the occasional black-tie event. (True, I’ve only worn that one once, but I’m sure another special event will come along at some point.) So Mommy and I decided to make a fancy tulle collar for me to wear to the Mardi Gras parade. I sent Mommy to the store to buy fabric in the Mardi Gras colors–a half yard each in purple, gold, and green. Then I watched (well, I might have napped just a bit) while she cut the fabric into strips that measured about two inches wide and 12 inches long. (Honestly, I would have loved to help with cutting the fabric, but I won’t be five years old until next month, and so I’m not allowed to use sharp scissors.)

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Next, Mommy figured out how much three-quarter-inch elastic she would need to go around my neck slightly loosely with about an inch overlap. She says that this step is much easier if the dog actually wakes up and lifts his or her head off of the ground. Whatever.

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Then she sewed the elastic together at the overlap with a zig-zag stitch. You could easily do this step by hand or even safety pin the two ends of the elastic, but Mommy feels super creative when she gets the sewing machine out, so it’s best just to humor her.

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And then you start tying all those tulle strips in knots around the elastic. Trust me, this part is super boring, so you really should just let your human do this step. Mommy says this part only takes a little less than an hour, and the time just flies by if you have something like Olympic figure skating on the television. I’ll just have to take her word for that, because I found this to be the perfect time to nap. After all, I needed to look lovely and refreshed when it was time to model the finished product.

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And voila . . . the perfect canine carnival collar. I cannot wait to wear this to the Mystic Krewe of Mutts Parade this weekend. I’m sure to collect gobs and gobs of beads to add to my collection. Throw me somethin’, Mister!


A Special Soft Spot for Ku

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I have a soft spot in my heart, and it’s reserved for my special friend Ku from Haiku by Ku. A couple of weeks ago, that soft spot got a little bigger when a package addressed to “Beautiful Miss Harper Lee” arrived in the mail. Well, as if that wasn’t enough, inside I found my very own pawtographed copy of Ku’s new book, Kuruk: The Little Bear That Could–One Rescue Pup’s Journey of Healing, along with a lovely note.

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I just had to sit down so I could take it all in, and so I could nibble on Ku’s book a little. I had never nibbled on a book before, so it was extremely clear to my humans that I was super excited about this one.

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And then I grabbed my new book and ran to my bed, because that’s where I take all the things I really love. I settled into my bed and started to share Ku’s story with my favorite toy, Alli Gator. Ku’s book begins in an Alaskan puppy mill. “My first year of life was rough,” he writes. “When I was about one year old, some of our pack members started to die. It was very traumatic and sad to see my family members pass away before my eyes.” At this point, Alli Gator and I were very, very sad for Ku and his Alaskan Malamute pack. I have been loved by humans since the very first day of my life, and Alli Gator has been loved by me since the day I got her. We so wanted Ku to feel that same sort of love. Fortunately for Ku and the others, things started to look up when some caring humans arrived at the puppy mill to rescue all of those sweet pups. Ku eventually ended up with a group called Washington Alaskan Malamute Adoption League (WAMAL) and then with his foster mama Miss Cindy.

That’s when Ku’s dreams really started to come true. A pretty lady and her big Malamute named Simba came to Miss Cindy’s home to meet Ku. “Inside the pretty lady looked into my eyes and spoke to me. She did not use words though,” Ku recalls. “She knew how to talk with her eyes!” Ku had found his forever home with the pretty lady, handsome Simba, two cats, and chickens. Alli Gator and I looked at each other and gasped: chickens! I am constantly asking my human daddy if we can have chickens and he always says no. But back to Ku’s story. Sadly, Simba passed away, but not before teaching Ku some very valuable doggy lessons, and Ku got a beautiful sister named Nalle from the nice people at WAMAL. The pretty lady, Ku, Nalle, and the two cats eventually moved to San Francisco (the chickens found a new loving home) and that’s where Ku now lives.

It might be easy for some animals and lots of humans to have a bit of bitterness in their hearts if they had the kind of start to life that Ku had. But Ku isn’t at all bitter. In fact, he has one of the most loving, generous, and optimistic souls you could ever imagine. His beautiful book ends with these words:

“My healing journey will continue on, but I know I can do it! And if I can do it, I know other rescue pups, and kittens, and horses, and other animals can do it too!”

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And now for a special footnote: Ku has promised to donate a portion of the proceeds from his book sales to animal rescue. You can click here to visit Ku’s blog and find out where you can buy the book. My mommy loves Ku as much as I do, so she bought a copy of Kuruk: The Little Bear That Could several weeks ago, and now she’d like to share that copy with one of our blog readers. Just make a comment by this Thursday evening at 6 p.m. central U.S. time and you’ll be eligible to win a random drawing for a copy of Ku’s heartwarming story of rescue and healing. Good luck!


The Belle of the Fur Ball

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Last weekend, my humans and I put on our best party attire (in my case, a fancy new collar created just for me by my mommy) and we headed to the Fur Ball. Billed as Baton Rouge’s premier pet-friendly gala, the Fur Ball benefits the Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge, a nonprofit that operates our local animal shelter and seeks to reduce animal euthanasia and find permanent homes for dogs and cats. How could we possibly have passed on such a great event for such a great cause?

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The evening started with a walk down the red carpet. (I guess they didn’t dare opt for a green carpet; that might have confused some of the guests!) I’m quite accustomed to flashing cameras–it seems my mommy always has that crazy camera of hers in my face–so I struck a few of my best poses and really showed off my canine couture. Somewhere around 75 dogs attended the event, and we spent a little while meeting and greeting (as only dogs should) while our humans enjoyed cocktails and perused the silent auction items. For the pups, there were plenty of huge water bowls throughout the ballroom. I will admit that I drank . . . a lot. It seemed as if every time we passed one of those water bowls, I had to have a little sip . . . or a big gulp. When it was time for the human dinner, some dogs went to day care and others stayed with their humans. I stayed with my humans and enjoyed a very nice nap.

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After dinner it was time for more mingling. I found myself quite smitten with a couple of handsome German Shepherds. This is Dutch and he is currently being fostered by Red Stick German Shepherds, an organization of volunteers dedicated to finding forever homes for this special breed. Dutch came to his foster home a little thin, but he has put on some weight and I must say that he is looking quite fabulous, and he is super sweet. I’m keeping my paws crossed that he finds a very special family that will love, love, love him forever. I know my wish will come true.

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This is Casper, a very lucky German Shepherd rescue who has found a wonderful and loving forever home. Casper was wearing a little note politely asking partygoers not to touch him. Casper is blind and unexpected touches can startle him, but once he is comfortable and expecting to be touched he loves it just as much as I do. My mommy was so proud of me with Casper. I was super sweet, calm, and gentle. I really enjoyed getting to know Casper, and I am so happy that he has such a great home.

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After visiting with Dutch and Casper, I hit the dance floor with my daddy. It was so much fun to see so many dogs and their humans cutting a rug–or more accurately slipping and sliding on a temporary parquet wood floor. My daddy and I had the very best time.

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When we got home, mommy and daddy shared with me some of their impressions from the evening, and now I am sharing those impressions with you:

  • There were far more large dogs than my humans expected to see, and all the dogs were on their very best behavior.
  • All of the humans were happy and generous with their silent- and live-auction bids. Perhaps all fundraising events should consider allowing people to bring their pets.
  • All the humans were eager to talk to each other, but none of them wanted to talk about themselves. They wanted to talk about all of the dogs.

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The Fur Ball was super fun and super exhausting. Not long after I had removed my pretty party collar, I stretched out on the floor, propped my head up on a bookshelf, closed my eyes, drifted off to la la land . . . and had sweet dreams of Dutch and Casper and all the homeless animals who will benefit from the fun we had.


The Missy Award–It’s All About the Animals

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I have spent so much of the last month jet-setting around the country (ok, I just hopped into my chariot for a one-hour drive to New Orleans), dining in restaurants to celebrate my birthday (technically, I celebrated my birthday by dining outside of a restaurant), and rolling in extremely putrid things (now that statement is entirely accurate) that I have completely neglected to acknowledged some of my favorite bloggers for nominating me for two very nice awards. Today I am thanking  Maryanne Mistretta for The Missy Award nomination.

The  Missy Award is presented to bloggers who support and advocate for animals, either as the main focus of their blog or in a single blog post.  The nominated bloggers can be animal lovers, vegetarians, vegans, rescue workers . . . doesn’t matter . . . it’s all about the animals. (The fact that I was nominated leads me to believe that nominated bloggers can be actual animals, too!)

The rules for this one are pretty simple:

  1. You must post the award picture on your blog. (Who doesn’t love putting award pictures on their blog?)
  2. Link back to The Missy Award.
  3. And answer these two questions: What inspires you to write? Why do you love animals?
  4. Nominate other worthy bloggers (whatever number you’d like), or you can simply accept the award and complete only Steps 1, 2, and 3.
  5. Finally, please let your nominees know you nominated them.

What inspires me to write? I’ve said it before, and it’s really very basic: I write to make humans smile. I have learned that humans deal with a lot of “stuff.” If I can take them away from all of the “stuff” in their lives and give them five fun minutes a few times a week, I have accomplished my most important goal.

Why do you love animals?  Aside from the most obvious fact (I am an animal . . . hope I didn’t shock you with that revelation), I love animals because we have an innocence and a simple sense of joy. We are loyal and forgiving. We don’t judge, and we are always hopeful. Humans could learn a lot from animals.

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Now for my nominees:

  • dailyspro–I have told you about this special human before, but now I get to tell you about her and nominate her for The Missy Award. She lost her beautiful, sweet dog Newton when he was just a little over two years old. She has shared her sadness so eloquently with her readers. But she didn’t stop there. After Newton’s death, she started volunteering as a dog walker at her local shelter. Most recently she has started a pet-sitting service that allows dogs to stay with her in her home. Did I mention she also has two cats . . . who, by the way, must approve the guest dogs before they can board? It’s official: she’s an animal lover!
  • Life Embarked–Jessica writes about her two-year-old Taylor, a Scottish Terrier/Dachshund mix adopted from a local shelter and about how doggy parenthood has improved her life in so many wonderful and surprising way. As a doggy mommy, she became very aware of what she was feeding little Taylor. That awareness crossed over to more interest in the foods she was eating, and now Jessica is a vegetarian with a goal of becoming a vegan. Check out her blog for some beautiful vegan Easter desserts. A vegetarian (working to become a vegan) and an animal lover: I think she’s qualified for The Missy Award!
  • Shoeful of Drool–When she started her blog, this witty lady told about the antics of Dudley, her Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix. A few months ago, Dudley crossed the rainbow bridge to be with his sister Zoe, and his mom wrote a beautiful two-part post about saying goodbye. She says that she truly believes having dogs has made her a better person. Every single day, she says, Dudley and Zoe still make her laugh. A while back she wrote a post about her desire to adopt a black dog (often the last dogs to be adopted from shelters) and name her (or him) Betty. I hope she does that one day. There’s a black dog somewhere out there who deserves to have this animal lover as its mother. This Missy Award is for you!
  • writetowag–Trev is a Cairn Terrier and he has achieved the status that all of us desire: Trev is a senior citizen. His mom writes lovingly about what it is to own and care for a senior dog (of course we all know that dogs actually own and care for their humans, but that’s another story). She shares product information and stories about the special time that they spend together. When you look at Trev’s pictures and see his sweet, sweet eyes, you will understand why his mom would do anything for him. Trev recently had a routine teeth cleaning, and he has had a bit of a health struggle since. Sending best wishes Trev’s way and The Missy Award to his mom, who loves him very, very much!

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And to you . . . that’s right, you . . . the human who is reading this right now: The Missy Award goes to you. . . because I just have a hunch that you, too, are an animal lover!