In the blogger community, lots of awards are passed around from blogger to blogger for many reasons; to recognize new blogs, to show our appreciation for others’ hard work, and sometimes just for fun. I’ve received several awards over the past year, but I’ve admittedly been too lazy to work on them, and I let them all pile up. But I finally found some motivation, sat myself down in front of my laptop, turned off Facebook, and I’m going to address them all here in one post. Below are my backed up Awards, in order of receipt:
The Versatile Blogger – Awarded to me by Success Just Clicks – back on June 23rd of last year, (yup, I’m embarrassed to say I let this sit so long), and then awarded to me again by 2 Brown Dawgs – on Jan 21st of this year. Thank you both so very much for the award! (And sorry Tena for taking so long to pass it along.)
Success Just Clicks is a great blog filled with tons of tips on how to train your dogs using very dog friendly methods. Not only does Tena train dogs, she also fosters dogs, and makes and sells her own tug toys. How she finds the time to blog regularly, I have no idea – but she does, and she does it well.
You would think that 2 Brown Dawgs was a blog about, well, two brown dogs – but it’s not. At least – not anymore. It used to be a blog about two gorgeous hunting Chessie’s named Thunder and Storm, but they went and brought home another sweet little pup named Freighter. Over at 2 Brown Dawgs, not only will you learn a little about hunting, but you’ll also be treated to tons of great photographs depicting all three brown dogs’ escapades.
The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:
1. Thank the award giver and link back in your post. (See above)
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award along to as many as 15 blogs you enjoy reading and let them know about the award!
Okay, here goes, 7 things that you might not know about me and the dogs:
1. My last name (Owczarek) means Shepherd. Even though it’s my married name, it’s a fitting name for me, because I grew up with German Shepherds, a Wolf-Shepherd cross, and one loan Collie named Maggie. After living with so many Shepherds, my family found that our Collie was not quite as smart as Lassie makes them out to be, and we never got another one (no offense to Collie owners). I also think my last name suits me because I sometimes feel as if I’m a Shepherd to the small flock of dogs under my care – even if I tend to go overboard by being too protective.
2. Despite how smart and loyal those childhood Shepherds were, I never wanted one of my own because of how much they shed (you do know they are alternately known as “German Shedder Dogs” – right?). But Leah suckered me into adopting her just by looking at me imploringly as I passed by her kennel at the shelter, and I decided to adopt her even after Nick and I took her for a walk and she dropped on her side every few steps and showed us her belly, and then submissive wet at least 10 times during the walk. Who could resist that?
3. I never wanted a Lab either, before I got Toby. I always thought they were “plain” dogs, and I really liked dogs with pricked ears and cool markings, like Huskies and Akitas, (although I still wasn’t keen about all that fur), and I also liked working breeds, like Dobes and Boxers. I only chose Toby so that Leah would have a pal to help her overcome some fear issues. The friendly Lab seemed like a good choice – even though he was being treated with Clomicalm to help anxiety issues of his own. So we signed on the dotted line, and now that I have Toby in my life, Labradors have become one of my favorite breeds. Why I feel that way sometimes puzzles me, because I’ve taken Toby to twelve trainers. That’s right. Twelve of them. And I’ve read dozens of books and worked with him religiously – for years. And he’s still not trained. Nick and I actually think he is a little ‘special,’ and the people who get to know him well seem to agree. Maybe we shouldn’t have weaned him off the Clomicalm…?
4. When I first found Meadow’s story on Petfinder, I had grown enamored with sporting dogs, (thanks to Toby), but I hadn’t had my heart set on a Vizlsa. We chose Meadow because we felt drawn to her story and thought we had enough experience to help her. As it turns out, we didn’t, which is why I am so very thankful for her former foster mom, Lesli, who time and time again has helped me with advice on how to properly handle her. As much as I love Meadow, now that I’ve gotten to know several Vizslas, I don’t think I could ever handle a young male one. Vizslas are great dogs, but it seems to me that many of the young males (at least the ones I’ve met) are off the hook with their energy levels. Those of you with young male Vizlsas – I give you a LOT of credit for the work you do to keep your dog’s sane, (and yourselves).
5. With all that said about breed likes and dislikes – I’m a sucker for a furry face, and could easily fall in love with just about any breed of dog, (see facts 2 – 4). The only behavioral problem I really don’t feel I’m equipped to handle is aggression – after Harley passed, but before Leah, we brought a Rottie-Shepherd-cross home for a trial adoption. I actually had a bad feeling about the dog at the vet clinic where he was being housed when we met him, but they begged us to just try over the weekend. “Please, he’s a great dog,” they said, and so we agreed. (Another example of me not listening to my gut.) Well, we ended up bringing that dog back first thing Monday morning after he grabbed my foot, snapped at Nick’s face, growled at my back while I cooked dinner – and wouldn’t let Nick into the house when he got home from work. It took all my strength just to hold onto that leash to prevent an attack, because he was over 100 lbs of snarling, protective dog. Not a good match for me.
6. And speaking of good matches, over the years we’ve mainly opened our home to problem dogs, and I love each and every one of them and try my hardest to give them really good lives, even if things don’t always work out as planned. As rewarding as this can be, it can sometimes be exhausting and stressful, and I’ve occasionally considered what it might be like to obtain a dog from a breeder – a good, well researched, responsible breeder. I’ve wondered what it might be like to start fresh with a (hopefully healthy) puppy that has no previous hangups and seeing what I could do with that dog, whether it be pursuing my much desired therapy work, excelling at dog sports, or, I even (briefly) considered getting involved in search and rescue. But each time I think of putting my name on a waiting list, I think of all those sad, unwanted faces at the shelters and on Petfinder and I just know that I personally can never purchase a pup – because it would haunt me that I could’ve given another homeless dog a new life in its place. So, I’ve decided, no matter the breed, the best match for me will always be a rescue. (Just wanted to add that I don’t knock anyone that does choose the good breeder route – this is just a list of seven things about ME.)
7. Although I always plan to rescue, I’ve decided to be A LOT more choosey about my next four legged companion, whenever that may be. Nick and I have a real soft spot for the problem cases, and I do like to try to help them, but I’ve also had a growing desire to do something that helps both homeless dogs AND people. I’ve considered raising a service pup one day, but I know that bringing a service pup into a house with problem dogs is a terrible idea. Why risk ruining a beautifully and purposefully bred dog’s chance at helping a human to live their life to the fullest, by having the puppy pick up another dogs’ bad habits – especially fearfulness? And I still wouldn’t be helping homeless dogs. Like I mentioned above, I’ve also considered search and rescue, because you can certainly adopt a dog suitable for search and rescue – their drive to work is often the very same reason they’re given up. But I’ve decided I’m not suitable for it. I can’t stand ticks, and I get lost going around the corner. I think my dog would end up babysitting me, rather than helping to find the poor lost soul we were supposed to be out looking for. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I can’t think of any other ways that you can help homeless dogs AND people – other than therapy work. So I hope that explains my fixation on one day adopting a well tempered, calm dog that is suitable for such work. (I once thought Toby was that dog, but it didn’t turn out so well…you’ll have to wait for me to sell my memoir to find out why.)
Okay, so now that you know more than you probably ever wanted to know about me and my dogs, I’ll move on to giving this award out to 15 other deserving blogs. In the interest of saving space, (and to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome), I’m going to give you a brief description – and urge you to check out each one for yourself.
1. Arwen’s Pack – This is a great blog by a talented writer that revolves around her three gorgeous dogs: A Husky named Arwen (the blog’s namesake), a Black Shepherd named Nyxie, and a Handsome Mix named Fenway.
2. At A Glacial Pace – Jess writes about Glacier, her second guide dog through Leader Dogs for the Blind, as they journey together through life. They’ve had their ups and downs together – but the important part is – they’ve remained together through it all, trying finding their way.
3. Back Alley Soapbox – Jen started the blog just for the sake of blogging, but according to her, after her two Newphies, Moses and Alma, entered her life, the dogs and dog related topics have mostly taken over the blog, (dogs are pretty good at this you know).
4. Bringing up Bella – Bella is a mixed breed who started out abandoned in the streets of Puerto Rico and is now living the good life in Massachusetts, while her new family (Leslie and Jan) are working on fixing some of the fear issues Bella developed along her journey.
5. Dennis’s Diary of Destruction – Want a few laughs? Head on over to author James Viscosi’s site, where his dogs, the intelligent mixed breed Trixie and her two troublemaking Vizsla siblings, Tucker and Dennis, share adventures in a comic-book like blog.
6. Dog Foster Mom – She started out by wanting to foster one dog so her own dog could have a companion to play with (and so that she could give another dog a place to crash), and she ended up moving out to the country just so she could foster many more dogs and cats (and adopt a few along the way).
7. Greyhounds CAN Sit – Gotta love a gorgeous grey! The beautiful greyhound Beryl and her buddy Frankie will impress you with their escapades in the sand. At this blog you’ll find lots of great shots of dogs having a blast at the beach, amongst other fun dog related posts.
8. Just Between Us – Belle shares her heart with Dozer, a Miniature Schnauzer, and both of them are sharing their home with Riley, a service dog in training for Canine Companions for Independence. How wonderful it is that Belle is working so hard with this dog so that she can reach her full potential – to one day help a person in need of a four footed helper.
9. Life With Desmond – Lauren is a Long Island resident who is striving to be a positive trainer, which is a great goal, because there really aren’t that many here on the Island. Desmond is her rescued Pittie, and Lauren ended up seeking more dog friendly methods after having a bad training experience with him, similar to what happened to us with our Dobe, Harley.
10. Life with Riley & Stella – Wander over to this blog and share in the training experiences of a male Lab and a female Vizsla pup. Hmmm….wonder what struck my interest about this blog? As it turns out, I found out that it’s a great blog with lots of training tips, worth checking out.
11. Life With Seven Dogs – I think the title says it all on this one. So you think two dogs, (or even three dogs), are a lot of work? Try living with seven. Or, you could just live vicariously through this blog and save some money (and some room on the couch).
12. Oh Behave! – Lisa, a trainer and an Honors graduate from San Francisco SPCA’s Academy for Dog Trainers, shares her dog training tips with you, and best of all, they’re all dog friendly.
13. Something Wagging This Way Comes – Pamela blogs about her Golden Retriever, Honey, including their forays into K9 Nose Works, and more recently, she has started fostering dogs and shares her experiences welcoming new fur faces into her home.
14. The Dogs Are Really In Charge – Visit Fiona, another service pup in training, who’s learning the ropes with Lance the Corgi and Vito the Toller. Hang around with them while the explore the world of dog sports, including obedience, agility, and disc dog competitions. You’ll also find a lot of great training tips, in case you’re interested in getting involved in any of these sports yourself.
15. Vizsla Inspiration – At Vizlsa Inspiration you will find gorgeous photos, mostly of Luna – a pretty young Vizsla, (hence the name of the blog), and sometimes you will also find photos of her sibling, Wyatt, a yellow Lab. Why yes, another blog about a male Lab and female Vizsla! Are you thinking what I’m thinking, that maybe these two dogs make a pretty good pair?
The next award that I want to share with you is the One Lovely Blog Award – given to me by jodistone just a few weeks ago on Feb 8th. If you think my Toby can by trying, you should head on over to Jodi’s blog and read all about her lovely Delilah, a Lab who might just put Marley to shame. But there’s always a yin to every yang, and Delilah’s yin is Sampson, a sweet innocent Lab who is probably the reason Jodi thought it would be a good idea to get a second one. Jodi is also an inspiring writer, who like me, is hard at work on her first novel (which I really look forward to reading when it is finished).
Thanks Jodi for passing this pretty award on to me! Jodi said the purpose of this award is to recognize fellow bloggers and show appreciation for their work, and she also said that it wasn’t clear how many other bloggers she should pass it on to. Since I’ve just passed along 15 other awards, I’ve narrowed this award down to only three recipients – all of which I feel deserve special recognition for their outstanding work in trying to help owners to understand their dogs better. Each of them blogs, write books, and conduct seminars in an effort to help improve dog’s lives, along with the people who love them.
Fearfuldogs’ Blog – Debbie Jacobs freely gives out advice, anecdotes, and discusses roadblocks you might come across while rehabilitating your four legged friend. Debbie got involved with fearful dogs after adopting a Border Collie named Sunny, who was at first too afraid to even leave the corner of the room. As per Debbie, after adopting Sunny, she has “thought of little else besides how to help scared dogs to not be so scared” and so it has become her life’s work.
Suzanne Clothier’s Blog – Suzanne Clothier is both a talented trainer and writer, and her blog posts, while few, are always thought provoking and moving. If you are not already familiar with her work, her training style is called “Relationship Centered Training” also known as RCT, and it is exactly that – she puts the relationship between the dog and handler above all other goals, and then everything else falls into place.
The Other End of the Leash - Written by the well known Patricia McConnell, a certified applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer who is passionate about teaching others how to train their dogs using positive methods, and who specializes in helping owners or dogs with behavioral problems, including aggression. Her blog induces many interesting discussions, which draw a lot of comments which are definitely worth the time to wade through, as you often learn as much from the comments as from the blog posts themselves.
And last, but certainly not least, Shiva the Dog’s Perserverance Award – Bestowed upon me by Kristine from Rescued Insanity on Valentine’s Day. This unique award was a real surprise, and I really appreciate that Kristine thought of me when she decided to pass it along to 10 bloggers who, as she put it, “have endured life with a truly wacked-out canine” – just like her own star, Shiva, pictured below. Rescued Insanity’s tag line is: “Have you ever seen a tornado on a leash?” Well that’s Shiva, a sweet crazy dog who’s currently learning agility to burn off some of her excess energy. If you’ve never actually seen a tornado on a leash, you probably want to head on over to Rescued Insanity and see for yourself.
This award doesn’t need to be passed along, which you are probably relieved to hear since I just mentioned 22 great other blogs for you to check out. But due to its uniqueness, I think it’s the one I appreciate most of all. You should know that Kristine goes above and beyond at Rescued Insanity to always highlight the work of other interesting bloggers, and I’ve discovered many of the blogs I currently follow thanks to her site. So a great big thank you to Kristine for the award, and for always pointing me in the direction of so many other interesting reads!
My Novel’s Progress: Edited eleven chapters out of fifty.
Local Readers – Save the Date! Take a Break from Cooking – and Help a Homeless Pet. Eat at Chili’s in Holtsville from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM on April 2nd, 2012 and ten percent of your tab will be donated to Kent Animal Shelter.
CONTACT ME for a copy of the flyer that you need to bring with you for Kent to get credit for your meal – and please, tell a friend.
Kent helps dogs like pretty Sadie find homes of their own.