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

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   

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

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!

Marilyn Monroe and the hidden treasure?

My dog Susie says

26 Miles to Catalina?

Well, this is my first trip on a boat that actually leaves the harbor. My big mommy told me that when they moved to California over twenty years ago, their first sailing experience was really funny. They were visiting friends in Newport Beach at “The Balboa Yacht Club.” They met a couple of “free spirits” at the Club who invited mommy and daddy to go sailing with them on their 46 foot yacht. It was moored at John Wayne’s home on the water a few miles away. So they decided to take a chance and go with these two strangers for a day of sailing and sunbathing. Thank goodness they had packed bathing suits in their car’s trunk.

Mommy had never been sailing before, but Daddy had sailed a few times with his neighbor in Atlanta, Ted Turner. But that’s another story for another day. Anyway, after arriving at the boat, their two hosts, who were in their early thirties, invited them to partake of wine and cheese. The two sailors were smoking something that obviously made them laugh a lot. After an hour or so of getting to know each other, while inhaling the second-hand smoke, mommy and daddy were in really good spirits. The “captain” finally said that it was time to leave to go to Catalina Island which would take a few hours. As they started the boat’s engine to begin cruising out of the harbor, the captain and his friend who were completely stoned by now, started laughing uproariously and slapping each others’ backs.

Daddy asked what was so funny and the captain said, “Geez, I forgot that we took the sails down last week to be cleaned and we forgot to pick them up. We’ll just have to motor around the Newport harbor for a few hours and drink more wine!” Mommy and daddy thanked the captain and his mate for the unique “sailing” experience, but said it was time for them to return home to L.A. Thus ended mommy’s first sailing trip. I hope this one is more fun especially with me on board for entertainment.

The next morning we arrived in Marina Del Rey harbor, and immediately left on a beautiful sailboat owned by an old friend of mommy’s named Beryl, She also has a great pooch named “Buster,” a Black Lab, living on the boat full time. Lucky dog! Also, the trip over to Catalina is only 22 miles not 26 like the song says. Other interesting facts discovered after we arrived is the island is about the same size as Manhattan: 22mile long by 8 miles wide. But only 4,000 people reside here instead of the 8 million living in New York City. Different races of people had settled on the island for over 9,000 years, including the native Indian tribe Turai, Russians, Chinese and pirates. I also noticed that there aren’t many trees on Catalina. The reason for the lack of trees is pretty crazy, but when y’all understand that Catalina is  legally geographically part of L.A…..well…..

It seems that hundreds of years ago the Chief of the Turai tribe on his deathbed told a white hunter named Samuel Prentiss about a hidden golden treasure located on the island. He said that it was buried under a tree. So, Mr. Prentiss, who had hunted every living animal on Catalina or it’s surrounding waters, spent the next 30 years literally cutting down and digging up every tree on the island looking for the vast lost treasure. He never found anything. Maybe it was really just an Indian joke on the white man?

Buster and I thought about digging around a few trees to look for the gold, but decided to chase the big hairy cattle that we saw running all over the hills. Mommy called them Buffalo, and as we got closer, they were way too big for us to try and round up. Also on a much smaller critter scale, there are rattlesnakes roaming everywhere.  Mommy learned that Catalina was acquired in 1919 by a chewing-gum magnate named William Wrigley from Chicago. Another treasure seeker, Marilyn Monroe, lived here years before she became a star. And Natalie Wood who was a star, mysteriously died here a few decades ago. Seems like a lot of history for such a tiny island.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. Famous actor and heavy drinker  Humphrey Bogart was a frequent sailor to Catalina Island. On his deathbed his last words were, “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis!”

For more Susie says barks go to:  http://sandysteele.blogspot.com

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

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“Stardogs”

My dog Susie says

California Canines

As I’ve mentioned in previous barks, I’ve met quite a few dogs of celebrities during the time I’ve spent here. I was pleased to find out that while many are expensive high-brow breeds, many are rescue dogs like me. Even Uggie who won a special Oscar for his “Silent Movie” movie in 2011 was a rescue mutt. To me they’re all “Stardogs.”

One thing I learned is that while there are hundreds of different breeds of dogs living here in the Golden State, there are lots of different languages they respond to. Gee..English is hard enough for me without having to understand, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese or Cockney.

One of the first and definitely the biggest dogs I met, was George a Great Dane owned by Jim Carrey. Jim had dated a girlfriend of Big Mommy’s years ago. He’s really funny but George is so big he scares me a little. Mr. Carrey also made some funny movies like “Pet Detective” and “The Mask” which stared a really talented doggy. In Beverly Hills, I met Lucy a Boxer owned by Jodie Foster. She was really nice.

Some singer named Clay Aiken owns a Border Collie mix named Raleigh. Ashley Judd who’s from the south like me, owns a couple of Cockapoo’s named Shug and Buttermilk. Congratulations, Ashley, on your husband winning the 2012 Indianopolis 500! We also saw Pamela Anderson in Malibu and she had a Golden Retriever named Star. Charlize Theron, who’s really talented and beautiful, owns numerous dogs: all mutts.

In Bel-Air where Mommy lived, a neighbor of theirs, Nancy Reagan owns a Sheepdog named Lucky. Great name for a wonderful President. Steve Martin has a beautiful Yellow Lab named Roger. Oprah Winfrey, who we saw in Santa Monica, has a couple of Cocker Spaniels named Solomon and Sophie. Oprah’s original home isn’t too far from mine there in the Georgia mountains and forests.  Speaking of trees and such, I discovered that in downtown Los Angeles something wonderful was happening.

There’s an organization called “TreePeople” who, for years, have been planting trees and shrubs all over L. A. They believe that by helping nature recreate small robust natural forests, they are helping the city to heal itself. This group has enabled downtown parks to be reborn making the urban environment safer, healthier, and more fun and enjoyable for humans…and dogs. The people behind this aren’t celebrities but just ordinary people with extraordinary ideas. Good for them!

At one of the TreePeople supported parks, Coldwater Canyon Park, sitting on top of the Santa Monica Mountains, we met Clara Bo, a Pomeranian owned by Kate Hudson. My big Mommy has seen Goldie Hahn numerous times. They’ both seem really sweet.  We also met a French Bulldog named Coco Chanel, who was a famous French women who invented perfume or something. Sacre Bleu! Her owner is Reese Witherspoon, who is originally from nearby Tennessee. She is really perky and a wonderful person. So is Coco! The most interesting Stardog was Rufus a poodle owned by Leonardo DiCaprio, who daddy met at a party at the Playboy Mansion. It seems that Rufus liked the water so much at the grotto, which was an underground pool in a cave, that he decided to relieve himself there at every opportunity ONLY when the partying guests weren’t looking. I wonder if anyone noticed? Maybe Rufus doesn’t like movie stars and their antics so much either. Well, gotta go, because we’re getting ready to sail over to Catalina Island.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy Steele

P.S. On Sunday we were all walking by a local church in Westwood and saw a Minister talking to a group of young boys. The boys had circled around a stray dog and the Minister asked what they were doing. The boys said, “This dog is homeless, so we’re having a competition to see who gets to take the dog home. Whoever tells the biggest lie wins! “

The Minister who was disappointed said, “Boys, it’s very wrong to tell lies. When I was your age, I never told lies!”

The boys all looked at each other and said, “O.K. You win. The dog is yours!”

To read more “My dog Susie says” go to http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more info on Sandy Steele go to:  http://sandysteele.com