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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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!

Dogs bearing Gifts

 

My dog Susie says 

Unexpected Christmas Presents 

I recently heard a story about a Black Labrador rescue dog who did some remarkable things for his family. One early November morning, a farmer found this abandoned dog who had obviously been beaten and nearly dead from starvation. The family already had a white poodle puppy named Jerry which the two children adored. They weren’t sure if they could afford both of the dogs with the economy the way it is. The kids convinced the parents to keep the older and larger black dog as a companion to Jerry the poodle. The family decided to name him Moses.  

One day while tilling in the fields the farmer noticed a huge eagle circling the tiny white puppy. He instinctively knew that during the winter, eagles would attack anything that they could carry away. It had Jerry the little puppy in its sights. Running as hard as he could to try to cross the acres of farmland before the eagle struck, he suddenly grabbed his chest and collapsed. Moses sprinted by him as the eagle lifted off the ground with Jerry in its claws. Somehow, Moses jumped high enough that he knocked the small poodle out of the bird’s clutches and they both fell safely to the ground. The eagle flew away glad to be alive. Turning his attention to the farmer, Moses ran back to him and then raced off for the house. Moses and Jerry arrived at the back door and started barking. Soon the farmer’s wife appeared and watched the dogs scamper around in circles obviously excited about something. She lifted the puppy into the house and followed Moses back to her husband. Calling 911 on her cell phone, an ambulance soon arrived. The farmer lived.  

A month later right before Christmas with the farmer almost completely recovered from his medical scare, he noticed that Jerry was acting excited about something. Calling for Moses who was nowhere to be seen, the farmer was worried that something must have happened. Maybe Moses ran off. Jerry took off running across the apple orchard towards the blacktop paved road. The farmer followed as quickly as he could in his weakened condition. Suddenly, there was Moses laying lifeless on his side, by the side of the road. He’d obviously been hit and killed earlier by a car. The tearful farmer gently picked up Moses for burial in his back yard. Christmas would be in a few days.  

On Christmas day, a young man appeared at the family’s front door. After being let in he was escorted into the living room where the Christmas tree sat, and all the presents had been opened and now scattered. The farmer, his wife and the two children listened as the stranger began. “I’m here to ask for your forgiveness as I did you a terrible harm. I’m the person who hit and killed your black dog a few days ago. I was too scared to come earlier and tell you that I did it. I’m so sorry and please forgive me especially on this day.” 

After a few minutes, the wife and children walked over and put their arms around the young teenager who was weeping. Soon the farmer asked what had happened. “I was hurrying to get to a holiday party when all of the sudden your dog ran right in front of me. I couldn’t stop. I actually thought that the dog I was going to hit was a little white poodle, but when I stopped and looked back, it was a large black dog. I still don’t know what happened?” 

The farmer looked at his wife and the kids smiled at each other. They now knew that Moses not only had saved their father, but pushed Jerry out of harms way and had saved him a second time. What a wonderful Christmas present! 

Here’s another true story. 

Recently a tragedy unfolded out west in Washington State. Scamp, an 8-month old Yorkshire-Shih Tzu mixed puppy, escaped from his back yard and was then hit, crushed by a car and eventually pronounced dead. The two young children who were minding Scamp when he escaped were completely devastated. Because the children were crying uncontrollably, the father took the broken dog outside in the snow, wrapped him in a blanket and gently placed him in the garage. He would bury him tomorrow on Christmas day. 

The children drew lots of pictures of Scamp and cried all night. The next morning before opening their gifts from Santa, they all went outside to bury Scamp in their backyard. Then a miracle happened. Opening the garage door, their beloved puppy was sitting up and wagging his tail. After being taken to the veterinarian and pronounced fit to live, nobody could explain what just happened. The mother of the children simply stated, “Christmas is all about the children. It’s about miracles and hope. It’s about family being together and Scamp is a wonderful part of our family.” 

Catch you later, 

Susie and Sandy 

P.S. Dogs can really help with the decorations and the Christmas tree. If you don’t believe me then go to this link below. Also I think that Scamp should be renamed Lazarus! 

http://www.flixxy.com/dogs-christmas-tree-decoration.htm  

To see more of Susie’s barks go to www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com  

For more info on Sandy go to www.sandysteele.com

Christmas shopping makes me crazy!

 

My dog Susie says 

Frankenstein meets the Cabbage Patch Dolls 

Sandy decided to take me for a long ride in her new car that had a lot of electronic devices built inside. She first punched in some coordinates of where we were going, then a strange voice started talking to her. “Turn here, go 150 yards,” etc…. ad nausea. Her cell phone rang and she pulled over to the side of the road. Talking to it briefly, she seemed confused because the other voice still coming from the dashboard was constantly giving more driving commands. Back on the road, she turned on the radio and started talking to it and telling the radio which music stations she wanted to listen to. I kept looking in the back seat to see if there was another rider with us but to no avail. Sandy wasn’t talking to me because I can’t talk back… yet, but instead speaking to cold dead non-living devices. I don’t think she’s going totally crazy, but it seemed somewhat scary and funny at the same time.  

We ended up at a big shopping mall to do some Christmas shopping. In a toy store she bought some doggy toys for moi and some dolls for the neighbor’s children. On a loudspeaker in the mall, different voices were telling everyone where to go for the bargains. People were singing strange songs about a fat guy in a red suit. Back in the car, she opened up a fake kitty cat for me to play with. When I lightly punched it, the dang cat started meowing and purring. Freaked me out! I had to toss it in the back seat. At a stop light, Sandy then dug into her shopping bag and pulled out a cloth doll. It started crying and laughing and whimpering and saying Momma. Freaked me out again! 

Since I’m only three, I was wondering if it was always like this. Voices, music and talking, talking, talking, everywhere one goes. After a half-day of shopping with Sandy, I just wanted the quiet peacefulness of my forests and lakes. I wonder if all the other critters living in the woods know about civilization and how many hidden mysterious people talk at once…all the time. Seems discourteous to me, but what do I know? I’m just a Border Collie, but much smarter than your average dog and all cats. 

Sandy suddenly decided that with all the money she’d spent, she better call the bank and make sure she’s not broke. So she grabbed her new iPhone from some fruit company, and started talking to some robot assistant named Siri. Soon she was connected to her bank. Then a metallic voice started asking questions and connecting her to one department after another after another. She never talked to a human being only these robot voices who made Sandy mad. Not paying attention, she ran a red light(she said it was yellow) and suddenly there was a blinding flash-bulb. Thank goodness there weren’t any cars around, but Sandy was still very upset. She moaned and muttered about the electronic device taking her picture and that she’d end up with a traffic ticket! Don’t they use real cops anymore for tickets? 

So our fun outing began with an electronic map telling us where to go, and ended with an electronic camera showing us, it was going to be a much more expensive day than we planned. 

Sandy sighed and said, “I thought it was 2011 and not 1984! 

Catch you later, 

Susie & Sandy 

P.S. When Benjamin Franklin flew his kite and discovered electricity and Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, I wonder if they ever thought electronic machines and humans might eventually become joined together…. like a Frankenstein or the Terminator? 

To see more barks from Susie go to: www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com  

For info on Sandy Steele go to: www.sandysteele.com

Pass the biscuits and bones

 

My dog Susie says 

Giving Thanks 

If you’ve been reading my earlier blogs, then you know there’s a chance my forebears go back to the Mayflower. Since my mom Sandy has been running around this week, like a chicken with its head-cut-off, preparing a “Thanksgiving” dinner for friends and relatives, I thought I’d do a little research. Excuse the guillotine reference as it’s probably over the top! However, what about the poor turkey? 

The Mayflower ship came over to America in 1620 with 58 men, 18 women, 32 children and a few cats and dogs. The ninety-foot long Mayflower wasn’t designed to carry passengers and was originally headed to Virginia. So for most of the voyage, everyone stayed below in the cold damp hold causing illness and death. Then a terrible storm knocked the ship completely off course and it landed in freezing Cape Cod, Massachusetts, instead of warm Virginia. It seemed like a bad omen. Finally on land, unfortunately many of these first settlers further died, because they weren’t prepared for the extreme cold and complete lack of food and shelter. Somehow, the remaining survivors managed to last a year. 

The reasons for their survival were dogs, cats and Indians. The dogs chased away wolves and bears protecting the homes. The cats chased and ate the squirrels and chipmunks who were eating their meager food supplies. Now, I love a squirrel chase as much as any dog, but to eat them….Ugh. 

The Indians, today called Native-Americans, graciously taught the settlers, how to fish the ubiquitous streams and plant the indigenous crops like corn, squash and cabbage. Hence, these pious Pilgrims survived because of the combined help from their new gracious hosts and their old former house pets.  

In November 1621, the Pilgrims and the Native-Americans decided to have a feast celebrating the first successful harvest and named it “Thanksgiving.” The first Thanksgiving lasted a week. The meals consisted of duck, corn meal, deer meat, seafood, cabbage, onions and squash. It seems that the turkey came much later. The Indian tribe called the “Wampanoag” which meant “eastern peoples,” called the Pilgrims “coat people.” These two distinct human races, as different as Mars and Venus, decided to get along and help each other for mutually beneficial reasons. Compassion! 

In the beginning and lasting hundreds of years, Thanksgiving was celebrated on different dates depending on which State you lived in. President Lincoln in 1863 decided all the States should recognize the same month, November, for Thanksgiving. Nearly a hundred years later in December 1941, President Roosevelt with Congress’s approval, officially declared that the fourth Thursday in November would be “Thanksgiving Day.” 

So America’s “Thanksgiving” was created and helped along by cats and dogs , foreign English settlers and native Indians, and Presidents and Congress, all working together for the good of their Country. Gee, what a concept!  

Catch you later, 

Susie and Sandy 

P.S. The cat up the street was telling me how she felt about Thanksgiving and November. “November is when most Americans shut their eyes, bow their heads and give thanks for the turkeys they are about to receive. Then they vote.” 

To see more of Susie’s blogs go to www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com  

For info on Sandy go to www.sandysteele.com