Taking a little vacation….

My dog Susie says

My vacation from “barking”

My Big Mommy grew up in Europe where they take every August off for an extended vacation. So, I decided to follow in her footsteps and take a break from barking about my adventures, politics, animal issues, celebrities or anything else that really bugs me for the next month. This is my last blog until after Labor Day, and I really hope everybody has a wonderful and robust rest of the summer!

I’ll leave you with a few tips on feeding your dog healthy foods in addition to their usual “dog food”. Remember that dogs, just like humans are omnivores, which means we like meat and plants.

      1. Fresh Fruits are fine if it’s apples, bananas (contrary to rumors), oranges or watermelon. Be sure to remove the seeds for easier digestion.

      1. Meats should be lean only and thoroughly cooked leaving the bones suitable for treats.     (But never never chicken bones)

                                3.    Cooked rice is a great food and inexpensive as well. I recommend brown rice only.

                                 4.    Vegetables are great treats including carrot sticks, green beans and cucumber slices.

Because I travel so much with my Big Mommy and Daddy, I thought I’d leave you with some tips on helping your pet survive his stay in a “Doggie Motel” if you don’t take them with you. 

                                             1.    Find a boarding facility that you’re comfortable with and that your friends have recommended.

        1. Take your dog there a few times for a few minutes before you actually leave them there. This allows them to acclimate themselves to their new temporary home. Give them a treat.

        1. Walk them around the grounds allowing them to smell their new surroundings. Give them a treat!

                                             4.   After returning from your vacation when you pick up your pet from the doggie motel give them a treat, but try not to make a big deal out of reuniting with them. It’s hard I know, but it really helps your dog if it seems normal, and that you just left a few hours ago. Everyone, of course, will be very happy to see each other.

Lastly, for all of you that feel like you might need a little more inspiration in your life watch the video below entitled, “Doggy Dancing.”  I watch this with Big Mommy at least a couple of times every few months when we need a few laughs!  Also, the canine star of the video looks exactly like moi!

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=-0jNC_w1tSw&feature=player_embedded

Catch you later in a month or so…

Susie and Sandy

P.S. “Dogs are not our whole lives but they make our lives whole.”

To see previous “My dog Susie says” barks go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For information on Sandy Steele’s books, blogs and skin care products go to:  http://sandysteele.com

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A Love Story

My dog Susie says

Who’s the ‘lucky’ one in this story?”

With the trying and terrible events of the past few months, I thought an uplifting story about a woman and her beloved dog would bring a smile to your face. This is a positive but absolutely true story!

 

Lucky Dog….                       

Anyone with pets will really like this loving”tail”, but you should enjoy it even if you don’t have any. After reading this, you may even decide that you need to get a pet in the near future!

 

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named ‘Lucky.’ Lucky was a real character as dogs can sometimes be. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit, they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy.  Inevitably, the guests would forget and their things would come up missing.                            

 

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other  favorite toys.  Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

 

Eventually, it happened that Mary found out she had developed breast  cancer. Something told her she was going  to die of this disease …… in fact, she was absolutely sure it was fatal.

 

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear weighting down her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky.  A thought suddenly struck her …. what would happen to Lucky?  Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through.                                 

 

If I die, Lucky will feel abandoned, Mary thought.  He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him!  That thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

 

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and she was hospitalized for over two weeks.  Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just constantly drooped, whined and acted totally miserable.

 

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital.  When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even walk up the steps to her bedroom.  Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and then left her to nap.                                

 

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but a deep sleep soon overcame her and she completely passed out.

 

When Mary first awoke from her slumber, she felt something was medically wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body felt heavy and very hot.  But her panic soon gave way to uninhibited laughter when Mary quickly realized the problem.  She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned!

 

While she had slept, her sorrowful dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all of his favorite things in life.

 

He had covered her with his love.

 

Mary forgot about dying.  Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day.  It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure of all.

 

Remember: live every day to the fullest.  Each minute on Earth is a blessing from God.  And never forget …. the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.

 

If you see someone without a smile give them one of  yours!  Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

 

 

Catch you later; and a big thanks to Mary and Lucky!!!

 

Susie and Sandy,

 

P.S. When Ulysses returned to Greece after a 20 year absence during “The Odyssey,” his faithful dog Argos recognized him immediately before anyone else did…. including his wife and children.

 

For more barks from Susie go to:  http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

 

Information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com   

All the President’s Men……

My dog Susie says

Who are these guys?

Since we already know a lot about President Obama, I decided to find out about Mitt Romney.

Personal Information: His full Name is: Willard Mitt Romney  (Do you think anyone calls him Willie?)

He was Born: March 12, 1947 and is 65 years old. (Wow, he’s way older than my Big Daddy)
His Father: George W. Romney, former Governor of the State of Michigan & President of American Motors. They made Jeep & Rambler during the 50’s & 60’s. (
What’s a Rambler?)
He was raised in Bloomfield Hills , Michigan (
Michigan is really nice for about 6 months out of the year) He is Married to Ann Romney since 1969; they have five children and a bunch of grandchildren.


Education:B.A. from Brigham Young University ,
J.D. and M.B.A. from Harvard University
(Now this is just crazy smart)


Religion: Mormon – The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Why were they late?)


Working Background:
After high school, he spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.
(But I doubt  it was the Riviera!)

After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar exam, but never worked as an attorney. (He’s smarter than I thought)

In 1984, he co-founded Bain Capital a private equity investment firm, one of the largest such firms in the United States . (Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns sure wished that Romney ran them instead.)

In 1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to Ted Kennedy. (Who didn’t?)

He was President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. (Park City has the best snow on Earth)


In 2002, he was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts where he eliminated a 1.5 billion deficit.

Some Interesting Facts about Romney:Bain Capital, starting with one small office supply store in Massachusetts , turned it into Staples; now with 2,000 stores employing over 90,000 people. ( I wonder if Mitt could do the same for an organic dog food company I’d like to start?)

Bain Capital also worked to perform the same kind of business successes again and again, with companies like Domino’s,Sealy,TheWeather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music, HomeDepot, and hundreds of others. (So, after eating a Cheeseburger for lunch and a Pizza delivered for dinner, you can listen to music while lying on a comfortable bed, watching TV for a weather update, thanks to Mitt.)

He was an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad’s gubernatorial campaign 1 year.
He was an unpaid intern in his dad’s governor’s office for eight years.
He was an unpaid bishop and president of his church for ten years.
(Where does the collection plate go?)

He was an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years. ( Hope he got free skiing)
He took no salary and was the unpaid Governor of Massachusetts for four years. (
But he got all the freelobster and clam chowder he wanted)
He gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.
(So he started with no money?)

Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country, but has given more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men. (See list of wealthiest Presidents below) And in 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income. Over his lifetime, it’s been rumored that he’s given over $250 million to various charities.

To me, Mitt Romney seems trustworthy and qualified to run for President of the United States.

Because of the recent shooting tragedy in Colorado recently, all the “Presidential “ negative advertising was pulled and we all got a few days of no attack ads:  Thank Goodness!

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy,

P.S. My big Mommy and Daddy always vote as independents. I don’t really know who they’ll vote for this time around. However, from what I’ve heard, both Mitt Romney (dog on top of car) and President Obama (eats dogs for dinner) have a way to go to before this Border Collie is convinced who is better!

Also, I researched what some of the past Presidents were worth in today’s dollars: 

  1. Bill Clinton $100 million
  2. George W. Bush $ 20 million
  3. Lyndon Johnson $100 million
  4. James Madison $101 million
  5. Andrew Jackson $120 million
  6. Franklin D. Roosevelt $ 90 million
  7. Thomas Jefferson $212 million
  8. Teddy Roosevelt $125 million
  9. John F. Kennedy $400 million

And the most interesting fact is that the wealthiest and poorest of our past Presidents are considered our very best:

George Washington was worth $525 million and Abraham Lincoln was worth less than $250,000.  Who knew?

 

 

Dogs Have Olympics Too!

My dog Susie says

13 Hundred Years of Sport?

All the current fuss about America’s “Chinese” uniforms for the upcoming Olympics in London, got me thinking about when, where and what the Olympics are really all about. Did you know that they first started in 776 BC and ran for almost 1200 years before being discontinued? The original games were held in Olympia, Greece during this entire period. The contestants competed in 20 events including track, wrestling, boxing and chariot racing. And a cool fact was that the first Olympic Champion was a cook but he didn’t win for cooking.

One of the most interesting facts about these “Ancient Olympic Games” is that during the two weeks of competition all wars and feuds between cities and nations were discontinued. The winners were so revered that poems were written and statues built to immortalize them. Is this where and when the idolization of modern athletes of today began? Anyway, the Olympic games were discontinued around 400 AD because Rome had supplanted Greece as the premier power nation on Earth. The Greeks really didn’t like Rome or Italians in general, so the games were placed in hibernation for the next 1500 years.

In 1859 the Olympic Games were restored in Greece because of the individual generosity of a wealthy Romanian-Greek philanthropist. In 1896 in Athens, the games brought together 14 nations with 241 athletes competing in 43 events. The next two Olympics were held in Paris (1900) and St. Louis, Missouri (1904). Bet you didn’t know America had its first Olympic Games back then. And, more importantly, women were allowed to compete for the first time, before they even won the right to vote. Now, the London Games are expecting over 10,000 competitors from 204 nations to compete in more than 90 different events. That’s a bunch of uniforms!

Most humans don’t realize that for 20 years or longer there have been “Doggie Olympics” held in May, September and October in numerous states including Indiana, North Carolina and Colorado. Awards are bestowed for twenty different events for “Best-Tricks, High Jump, Limbo, Musical-Sit and Kisses” I know I could win for the limbo because I can crawl lower than any dog I know. And the gold medal will definitely be mine for Kissing cause nobody kisses better or more often than me! Two major reasons I can see for watching dogs over human competitors are: dogs are true amateurs that aren’t paid any money, and they also don’t need any fancy uniforms from China.

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Since the first Olympic Games were contested exclusively by male athletes who were completely naked, what’s the big deal about the manufactured uniforms they now wear today? Maybe we should go back to the original Olympic “uniforms” not created by any country, individual or company. And since women are now allowed to compete, think of the huge ratings!

For more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com

Has America gone to the Dogs?

My dog Susie says

The Sky is Falling”

 

 

Chicken Little is famed for proclaiming, after being hit on the head with an acorn, that the sky was falling. Her friends, hen, duck, and goose, helped sound the alarm to all the animals when they heard the news. Mr. Fox, however, didn’t really believe it. Instead he used their fears to lure them to his inviting safe den where he enjoyed a great feast of fowl. There’s a lesson to be learned here I reckon.

 

My Big Mommy and Daddy have been watching the news and there always seems to be somebody on TV telling us that the sky is falling. I know things are bad, but are they as bad as World War II?  Or World War One? Or Viet Nam? The Cold War? How about the 10 year Depression in the 30’s? I don’t think so!

 

One advantage to being a dog instead of a human is that we sort of keep things in perspective. And since we don’t live very long compared to people, we sort of keep things more positive. We don’t sweat the small things and try to stay ahead of the pack by watching what’s around us at all times. You never know when you might run into a bear or mountain lion in the woods. So, let’s look at the facts and see if it’s fixable.

 

This current economic downturn began in 2006 according to most experts. But it really began in 1996. That year mortgage companies started giving generous discounts on mortgages to congressmen and women. Over the years, these representatives stated that they only received the same benefits as anyone else and only a few special mortgages were actually utilized. Oh really? CNN reported today that House and Senate members received lower mortgage rates and no up-front fees. Can the average person get this? Also, over a ten year period from 1996-2006, about 17,000 of these special mortgages were given out to our elected officials and other selected individuals. That works out to over 1700 mortgages a year for a total of 100 Senate and 435 House members. So a bunch of their staff and worker-bees must have received these discounted mortgages as well. What about the Presidents office? Hummmm.

 

Then in 1999 another interesting thing happened. The repeal of a major finance law called Glass-Steagall which was implemented after the bank failures in 1933. The collapse of the banking system is regarded as the main reason for the Great Depression. This law had worked perfectly since then and kept the banks from risking their depositors’ money. So why change a good thing? Was the fox getting into the hen house?

 

Congress smelled a golden opportunity to use the banks to not only loan money directly to homeowners, but to allow banks to “securitize” these loans into bundles that the banks could sell and own for themselves. This meant that an unlimited amount of money was now available to purchase homes by virtually anyone. Next, Congress decided to dramatically reduce the qualifications and down-payment requirements to purchase a home. Through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two largest mortgage companies in America, pressure was brought again by “well-meaning” Congresspeople to make it easy to buy as many homes as you wished.  Everyone, including undocumented people, jumped on the bandwagon.  How could we lose?

 

The Stock Market went up to its highest level and peaked in 2007. Much of it was the result of an exploding real estate market. Coincidentally, it was recently acknowledged that all Congresspeople can do something that the average person can’t. In fact, if you do this, you might go straight to jail for a long time.

 

Unbelievably, these same Congressmen and women can trade on “inside information” for their own stock accounts. In other words, when they decide to do something that might affect an individual company or industry, they can buy stock way before the average citizen knows anything. So let’s summarize:

 

Starting in 1996, our elected officials could buy a home on special terms. Next, in 1999 a powerful but simple law, Glass-Steagall, which many believe would have prevented our current “Great Recession” was repealed. Wall Street was encouraged to make available trillions of new credit available via the bundling of these “easy” mortgages. The result was a explosion in home values and stock prices. I wonder how many elected officials became millionaires during this time as a result of their actions. This period in history reminds me of a children’s game where you run around chairs until there aren’t enough to sit down and everyone loses but one. Are we the losers and Washington officials the “one”? Maybe Chicken Little was right!

 

Eventually, the whole financial domino game imploded. My Daddy frequently follows a premise in all his business dealings. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Where would we all be, if Washington had followed this?

 

Catch you later,

 

Sandy and Susie

 

P.S. I had a lot of help with this as my Big Mommy and Big Daddy are business people. However, being a Border Collie I’m smarter than you think. How smart? Well, I know which city has the most people making over $200,000 a year. Is it New York, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston? Nope. It’s Washington D,C. There you go!

 

To read a few more “Susie says” barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

 

More info on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com

 

 

 

Harvard, Heaven and Dogs

My dog Susie says…

Life’s little stresses

Last week I barked about taking your dog to work and its benefits. Well, how about other places that pets help humans: like school? In colleges from Atlanta to San Francisco counseling centers are using dogs to reduce stress for their students. Dorm rooms are now allowing dogs and cats to be brought from home to live with their owners. And if you don’t have a pet, well you can just rent one.

Harvard and Yale Universities have “resident therapy centers” that keep dogs in their libraries that can be borrowed just like a book. In fact the doggie programs are so successful that students come from miles away just to spend time with the rental pooches! Emory University in Atlanta trains these companion dogs to specifically reduce stress for the humans. Maybe I can get a PhD in stress relief!

Research at campuses across America shows that positive interactions with pets decrease the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in humans, while increasing endorphins which makes you feel happy. Hey, maybe I can get an MD degree too!

Taking final exams is about as high a stress level as students experience except when a friend is hurt or dies unexpectedly, like in a car accident. Dogs seem to allow people to “let go” of their emotions in a much more uninhibited way than just grieving with other humans. Numerous students have stated, “These pet stress programs are so great, that if the the school doesn’t keep doing them, I won’t come back next year!”

Here’s a little story I heard recently about stress and dogs….

A man named Sam and his dog Oscar were walking on a long and winding road. The traveler was enjoying the pleasant walk, when it suddenly occurred to him that he had recently died from all the unbelievable stress at work. He was a cop. He now remembered passing away and also, that his beloved dog had died years before him.

After a while, they came to a mountain top with a tall white stone marble wall across from the road. Standing before it, Sam saw a magnificent gate that looked like mother of pearl and a glittering street that looked like pure gold. He and Oscar walked toward the gate and as they got closer they saw a man standing at a desk.

When they were close enough, Sam inquired, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“Why, this is Heaven, sir”, the man answered.

“Wow! After my stressful life this is great!  Would you happen to have some water? I’m really thirsty.” Sam asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in and sit down. I’ll have some cold ice water brought right up.” The man gestured and soon the gate began to open.

“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” Sam asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we never accept pets. You’ll have to leave him outside.”

The traveler thought for a moment, then turned back toward the road and continued along the same way they had been walking before. After another long walk, he and Oscar came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a white haired man inside, leaning against a tall tree and reading a book.

“Excuse me!”, Sam called to the reader. “Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure enough, there’s a water pump over there. Come on in.”

“How about my friend here?” The traveler gestured to the dog.

“Sure. There’s a bowl right by the pump.”

They went through the gate and saw an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl, took a long drink himself and then quickly gave some to Oscar. When they were both full, Sam and his dog walked back toward the man standing by the magnificent tree waiting for them.

“What do you call this place?” The traveler asked.

” Why…This is Heaven,” was the answer.

“Well, that’s mighty confusing,” Sam said. “The man up the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the gold streets and pearly gates? Nope. That’s Hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”

“Nope. I can see how you might think so, but we’re just thrilled  they screen out all the folks who would leave their very best friends behind!”

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

For more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

Information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com

HAPPY 4th of JULY EVERYONE!