Tag Archives: mypitbullisfamily

Happy Thanksgiving

The big day has finally arrived! It’s a time when we can eat as much as we want and indulge in long naps afterwards. Or maybe the naps part is just for the dogs…

Still, I can’t help but think that this year I have a little extra to be thankful for and it’s all because of Artemis.

Artemis is a stray cat that wandered into our front yard about a month ago and decided that we were going to be his new family. He showed up in pretty bad shape: skinny, runny nose and watery eyes, and grease all over his tail. Then, after he stuck around for a week we decided to take him the vet and found out he was in even worse shape than we could see initially. It turns out he weighed about half the weight of a normal cat, is probably in his late teens, and has no teeth. Yes, it’s true: he has absolutely no teeth! Yet, this little, old cat is so friendly, loving and sweet. All he wants is some food and water, a bed to sleep in, and daily pets. He doesn’t seem to know or care about his past or how sad he looked when he showed up on our front porch a month ago. Artemis is just a happy cat who loves life.

Of course, I’ve always been thankful for my pets: Simon, Rosee, Orion (our inside cat), and George (our outside cat). They always make life entertaining, and offer us humans unconditional love. Still, with our new addition of Artemis I can’t help but be even more thankful for all of my pets this Thanksgiving because his love of life and trust in us in spite of the previous circumstances (which I assume were not good since he showed up looking so skinny and dirty without any teeth) is humbling. Honestly, what I do for any and all of my pets never seems to equate how much joy and love they offer us in return.

So, here’s to hoping you and your pets had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Day 5 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Fair warning: things are about to get a little (or a lot probably) sentimental.

The month of October is special and it’s not just because of Halloween. This month there are two very special birthdays, and the first one (we’ll get to the second one later in the week) is my Grandpa Sal’s birthday.

This year he turned 91 years old! Although if you asked him he’d tell you he’s only 16 and never been kissed, which he accompanies with a cheeky smile 😉

Now, during this time of Halloween fun there is also the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. It may not be celebrated by everyone, but the decorations are more commonplace these days and I think it’s a reminder (to me at least) to remember my family and friends both past and present. I think about loved ones I’ve lost and ones that I still have, and simply encourages me to appreciate my family and friends in general. (Also, it makes me realize that Thanksgiving will be here before I know it and I have no idea what I’m gonna do!)

So, this year with my Grandpa Sal’s milestone birthday I thought I’d reflect on what he has taught me, and specifically what he has taught me about dogs.

You see, my Grandpa has always loved dogs. As far back as I can remember he’s had a dog with him, and he was the kind of person that took his dog with him everywhere and anywhere, even to work! In fact, when he retired and started doing landscaping work just to keep busy he would actually turn down jobs if the customers told him he couldn’t bring his dog Lucky with him. He has always had a great relationship with his dogs throughout the years, and what’s crazy to me is that he never formerly trained any of them. Rather the trust that he established between him and his dogs was all he needed to have a great relationship with them.

Grandpa with Andy
My Grandpa Sal with Andy

The earliest dog (that I remember at least) was a Beagle named Andy and he was the sweetest dog ever. He was small with giant ears, and my favorite past time was watching Scooby-Doo cartoons with him in my grandparents living room.

Grandpa with Cookie
Cookie

Then there was Cookie who was a Springer Spaniel and giant in my memory, although that could be due to the fact that I was just a kid when my grandparents had him. Cookie loved playing fetch (early practice for me as now I have Simon who loves playing just as much) and would only relinquish his tennis ball to my Grandpa. He was an energetic dog that, despite his size, loved sitting on my Grandpa’s lap.

Grandpa with Lucky
My Grandpa Sal with Lucky

Finally, there was Lucky, who was particularly special to my Granpda Sal since he was the dog he adopted after my Grandma passed away and pretty much became his best buddy. For Lucky my Grandpa would do just about anything, including going to the grocery store to buy a steak or piece of chicken just for Lucky. These two were two peas in a pod and never went anywhere without each other. Sometimes they would even go on drives around town just because my Grandpa said Lucky wanted to. In turn, Lucky was just as devoted to my Grandpa and on their daily walks would make sure he never got too far ahead (my Grandpa never put him on a leash because he claimed Lucky didn’t like it) of my Grandpa.

I grew  up watching my Grandpa with his various dogs and was always in awe of the trust he was able to build with each one. Observing him with Andy, Cookie and Lucky throughout the years showed me how special and significant dogs can be to us humans. Dogs (or any pet really) aren’t simply just pets, but they’re family members that can end up meaning so much to us!

Expectations, 4th Birthdays, and Halloween!

The other day as I was perusing my newsfeed I came across a story written about a pit bull named Meli. The author, Katie Crank, shared the four things she “wish[ed] I knew before loving-and losing-a pit bull.” When I first read the title of this story, I thought for sure I knew what was going to happen: a person who maybe didn’t know much about pit bulls or more or less believed in the negative stereotypes adopted one and suddenly their mind would be changed for the better about these dogs. Yet, when I actually read this story I got so much more.

You see, Simon has been an easier dog to have, and it’s mainly because we’ve had him since he was a puppy. That’s not to say that adopting an older dog is a bad thing, it’s just easy with Simon because we know all of his issues. Adopting him so young allowed us to do our best to socialize him, put him in training right away, and just get him used to things from an early age. With Rosee, things have been a real learning process. We had to learn what makes her tick, if you will. I’m not going to lie either, Rosee has had her issues. She’s not very trusting of strangers, can be reactive to certain types of other dogs, and likes her personal space.

As I was reading about Crank and her time with Meli I honestly felt as if someone was finally articulating everything I’ve learned with and about Rosee, but have never really said out loud. For instance, as Crank explains there are so many things we, as human owners, believe that our dogs need to be able to do. They need to behave and walk nicely on a leash, be able to get along with other dogs, and general be social beings, just to name a few. However, our expectations of dogs aren’t always right for them. Some dogs aren’t necessarily very social, and that’s okay. As Crank writes, “it is absolutely ok for her [Meli] to say no.” (when it comes to not wanting to meet some dongs she may pass by) Dogs each have their own personalities, and much like humans not all are social creatures. Really, why should I expect my dog to be the most outgoing animal on the planet, when I myself am not always in the mood to interact with others? The point being that our dogs (pit bull or not, large or small, furry or bald) all have something they can teach us as long as we’re willing to pay attention.

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Rosee may not be the “perfect” dog, but she is a loving dog who has taught me the fine art of cuddling, she often reminds me to let my voice be heard (even if I have to bark), to not worry so much about what other people think, and to be confident in everything I do. My family may have been the ones that adopted Rosee, but I know that she owns us. So much of what Crank wrote really struck a chord with me, and it was not just because it was about pit bulls. Rosee came into my family’s life at a time when we weren’t really even looking for another dog. Honestly, Simon was more than enough, and yet she gave us everything we didn’t know we needed. It feels like we’ve had Rosee forever. I can’t imagine a time when we didn’t have her. I mean, seriously, what did I do with myself in the days pre-Rosee?

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Especially, this past year with a broken toe and a subsequent 8 weeks in a leg cast, an extreme case of hives, and everything in between, it’s amazing learning exactly how resilient Rosee and the rest of us truly are.

So, Happy 4th Birthday Rosee and here’s to many more years of doggie escapades!

And to everyone else, all of us here at Play Hard, Bark Often wish you a frightfully fun (and safe) Halloween!