5 things I learned from my dogs

I value the wisdom of my dogs. In spite of all our technological advances as humans, there are times when I truly wonder who is the species with the greater intellect.

5. Trust your gut (nose).

4. No matter what, I love you.

3. A daily walk is a must.

2. Make time to play and rest.

1. The present moment is everything.

Of cushions and husbands

Well, I’m sick. I don’t know if it’s the weather or allergies or what but my head feels like there are a thousand bees buzzing around in it. It certainly didn’t help that we were running around in the freezing cold yesterday searching for a new cushion for River. This is our weather statement right now. It’s cold out there and it’ll be cold for a while yet. I know we have winter dogs but I fret about leaving them outside for the entire day when it’s this cold. So, last Friday, I left them in…and River decided the best way to spend his time was to eat his cushion. So now we’re looking for another one for his royal fluffiness.

But it’s easier said than done. We have demands we want from a cushion and yesterday, after looking through 3 stores, we had to head home and warm up. So, my hubby decided he would fix the cushion.

He started with a needle and thread…but after many British curses that I won’t repeat here and too many bandaids to count, he moved to another medium. 

Duck tape.

River’s tough day

Breakfast is an early affair for River, mostly because his sister, Ocean, is full of beans and won’t sleep past 6 am no matter how many times you explain to her that it’s the weekend.

Breakfast! Yum!

Breakfast is gone in under a minute and this morning, since it included rice, it didn’t last past the 30 second mark.

Time for a nap

Afterwards, of course, it’s time for a much needed nap. Eating so early takes a lot out of poor, sadly-neglected River. But mom doesn’t think he should spend the day sleeping, and she’s insisting on a walk. Sheesh.

A walk? At this hour? Well, make it a short one, will you?

One walk later, it’s definitely time to rest…except River sees mom cooking and that means scavenging for what little crumbs might fall to the ground in the kitchen.

If you give me a little treat, I won’t tell Ocean

Obviously, that’s a full day for his fluffiness and a rest is well deserved. Once mommy is done in the kitchen, it’s time for that nap. Better still, a nap by her feet, so he’s within petting distance.

What a day!

Thankfully, supper is next, so that he can replenish his strength…but what’s this? Mom decided to have two walks today! Ocean is over the moon, of course, but she’s always been a little nutty. Two walks is exhausting for poor River and it’ll take him days to recuperate from the ordeal.

At least there’s supper! Phew!

Finally, finally, he can rest and take it easy from his very tough day.


An uninvited guest

We live in the country. We love the fact that we get tons of trees around our home and the animal life that comes with them. In fact, when we saw a family of foxes, we were over the moon, staring at them and taking pictures. We really love our wild critter neighbours.

Until they come into the house, that is.

Yesterday, a mourning dove decided our garage was much more appealing than the trees and in she came.

What? Trees are for the birds

After flying around the inside of the garage for a minute, she landed on our open garage door and seemed quite content to stay there.

My husband, the therapist, immediately decided she needed counselling. He headed back into the house to check the DSM book.

I decided to try and explain things to our feathery friend. But, no matter how clearly I said to her that she was a bird who needed to live in the trees, our new visitor disagreed.In fact, she seemed to like the tone of my voice and settled quite happily in her new home.

It was time to use force. I got a dusty old broom out and waved it in the air, when that didn’t get a reaction, I touched the garage door, then moved closer to the bird. Until she flew…to the other side of the garage and found a new perch.

This is pretty nice too. Good view

My hubby reappeared and, seeing the bird was still with us, shook his head and headed back inside. My two furry akitas had, by this time, heard the commotion and were trying to get into the garage to see what the fuss was about. Through the door, I could see my hubby banging his head against the wall.

I tried moving closer to the bird to intimidate her with my human presence but this dove seemed devoid of any fear and didn’t even budge an eyelid. Jumping, waving my arms and even singing caused similar reactions and finally, exhausted, I decided to embrace our feathery friend. Maybe we could leave the garage door open in perpetuity.

That was when the clouds parted a rare ray of winter sunshine fell across our front lawn. While we don’t live in a paradisiacal forest, when the sun shines on the trees, it’s quite beautiful. Certainly more appealing than the inside of our garage.

The dove agreed and flew back outside.

Ah…life in the country is never boring.

Dog breeds to avoid according to vets

You go to a breeder, where you find adorable little balls of puppies and one seems to recognize you on sight. It’s true love and you bring this little bundle home only to see it get sick. Panicked, you run to the vet where you find you find out: Oh, this breed is known for being sick.

In breeding dogs, like anything, there’s science and a bit of luck but if you’re interested in knowing which are the hardiest breeds, check out this post by a vet in the UK.
 Shar Peis may be cute, but they don't make good pets due to their 'neoplasia pre-ordained', according to the post


Nothing is ever completely guaranteed, of course, but when I hear the same breed is troublesome by several vets, I start to wonder. Bulldogs, for example, are a breed that I would buy in a minute. With their adorable wrinkles, super cute faces and hilarious personalities, I’d fall in love with one or two or three…But they seem to be in every vets’ list of unhealthiest dogs.

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It isn’t easy to keep my heart away from those gentle-eyed doggies. I could easily get attached. But I remember how painful it was to have our bullmastiffs get sick over and over and hear them cry in pain. By comparison, our two akitas are as healthy as weeds.

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So, there you have it. Some information on doggie breeds that might be helpful to you.

On protective dogs and silly owners

I might have mentioned once or twice that we have dogs. We live in the country, see, so we got the aforementioned doggies for protection. When my hubby is away at night, I feel so much better knowing my furry friends are with me.

Get that? For protection. This is important in this rant.

Well, I took those two doggies on a walk today and we walked by a neighbour’s yard where they too had a doggie. This one, as it so happened, raced across the yard barking madly at us.

Now, before you worry, gentle reader, let me reassure you, no animals were hurt in this story.

Still, I had no idea what the dog was going to do. So I reacted…

I stood in front of my two ‘protective’ dogs, and raising my hand told the strange dog to stop and back off.

Yeap. I stood in front of my two dogs…

The ones we got for…well, protection.

As it so happened, my dogs would have none of that and walked back in front of me…tangling the leashes hopelessly around all of us and sending me down to the pavement in a mess of arms and legs.

The strange dog, meanwhile, stopped at the edge of his property to have a good laugh at us.

I think the pooch might have weighed a total of 20 lbs. Wet. (I won’t mention how much my own dogs weigh but 100 lbs is a lot of weight.)

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And I stood in front of those two doggies we got for protection so no harm would come to them.

Yeap. You can laugh at me now.

Top 6 reasons for owning an akita

After years of having different breeds, I’ve decided to pass on my pearls of wisdom to you, my lovely reader. Here are my top 6 reasons for owning akitas.

6. Akitas don’t bark…unless it’s something really important.

There actually is such a thing as a non-barking breed. The issue with barking dogs is that they bark at anything that moves; things that you want, like intruders and things that you don’t want, like squirrels and evil-looking tree leaves. The constant noise can drive a saint crazy.

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In comparison, akitas don’t bark. If they do, run because it’s important. We’ve owned ours for years now and I can count on one hand the times they have barked. Ahhh…blessed silence.

5. Akitas are low-energy dogs.

Don’t get me wrong, dogs with high-energy are and can be a blast. But you need to know what you’re getting into. If you get a German Shepherd, Fido is going to want and need a lot of exercise. That’s great, if you like to jog with your pooch but if you don’t jog or your job exhausts you and you want to relax when you get home…watch out.

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High-energy dogs need that exercise. If they don’t have an outlet for that energy, they’re like monkeys on crack. They run around your house desperately searching for something to do…and usually that is not something constructive like doing your laundry. Nope. Your lovely pet will find the most cherished, expensive item and turn it into a chew toy.

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Akitas don’t have that much energy. They’ll go for a walk with you but they can’t do a hike of miles. So if you miss a walk one day, they’re okay. They love nothing more than to sleep at your feet.

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4. Akitas are great in extreme temperatures.

This is particularly important in Canada where we go from boots to sandals and back. Our weather is either too hot or too cold. If you have a dog with a short nose, like a boxer or a pug, or a bullmastiff, they’re going to be in trouble. Dogs with short noses can’t regulate their body temperature well. That means that, if it’s too hot or too cold, they need to be indoors. And, in Canada, that’s most days. Keeping a dog inside means that they will need a break and you have to return home to let them out. They’re also much more likely to destroy furniture or get into trouble if they’re left alone inside the house–unless they’re crated.

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Akitas have long noses that help them regulate their body temperature. They also have insulating fur. That fur not only keeps them warm in the winter, it also keeps them cool in the summer. Though I tend to always err on the side of caution in extreme temperatures, these are dogs that are pretty hardy on both ends of the spectrum.

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3. Akitas are incredibly loyal to their owners.

It’s true. They are one of the most loyal breeds. They tend to bond with one person in the house and hover around them at all times.

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Believe it or not, there are dogs who aren’t loyal at all, like boxers or greyhounds. They love those who they’re with and aren’t that particular if a neighbour takes them for a walk. In comparison, my akita, River won’t let anyone but me or my hubby hold his leash. These guys are supper-attached.

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Still, for the most loyal breed go to the Newfoundlander. That’s one loyal breed. But be warned, Newfs can’t change owners. If they do, they simply stop eating. They get that attached.

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2. Akitas are very protective.

It’s one of the reasons why we got these dogs. We live in the country and my hubby and I have very different schedules. I don’t like the idea of being home all alone. Dogs were both companionship and protection. And in the realm of protection, these guys mean business.

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There are dogs that will let anyone inside and the only way they’d stop a thief is if the intruder had allergies. Not my dogs. I sleep relaxed at night because I know they’ll warn me if anything is amiss and protect me, should the need arise.

1. Akitas are very healthy.

Over the years, dogs have changed both in shape and size. The bulldog, for example is almost a completely different creature from the dogs that used to carry that name. Breeders have emphasized the physical attributes that we like, like those adorable wrinkles, and changed those that we don’t like, like a long body. Unfortunately, to get those results, close breedings had to happen and, along with those wrinkles, came other, unwanted issues. As a result, bulldogs are some of the most unhealthy of all dog breeds today.

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We loved our bullmastiff but it too was plagued with health issues–mostly due to the fact that bullmastiffs have bulldog DNA in them. From infections in the wrinkles, to dysplasia, to breathing issues, to allergies, to stomach problems, to weight-gain issues, the list went on and on. It’s no fun to have your puppy at the vet every other weekend and, even worse, to have to say goodbye when they’re only 4 years old. After two bullmastiffs who passed away in terrible pain and much too soon, I had to move to another breed to protect my heart.

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Akitas are a very old breed that hasn’t been altered by humans. As a result, they’re incredibly hardy. Give them their vet check once a year and they’re good to go. No hip dysplasia here, or other skin issues. They also live much longer than the mere 5 years of most bullmastiffs and still bounce around like they’re puppies.

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There you have it. My top 6 reasons for owning an akita. Hope it helps you make a more informed decision if you’re looking for your next doggie best friend.

If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my dogs killed another rabbit. This happened because a rabbit snuck into our fenced backyard and my two pooches were on it before it could get out. Thankfully, I didn’t see said incident. But the horrors of it still linger in my mind. I wish I could have helped that little bunny.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, Canada being Canada, it’s now boiling hot outside. We truly go from boots to sandals. You either freeze or boil here. Still, it’s such a lovely change from the dark, freezing nights of winter that no one is complaining.

Except the akitas. They’d love nothing more than perpetual winter.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your week went. How was work? How was home? Mine was crazy busy. It seems that, as the temperature increases, so does the workload…or maybe it’s my need for perfectionism. I have to admit, I tend to fuss at things until they’re just so.

A huge thanks to  Eclectic Alli for hosing Coffee Share and to you, my lovely reader, for reading!