Tuesday, July 7, 2015

So You Want a Dog?

It's been a month ago now (I'm behind on everything), but we took Munch to the dog beach at Bear Lake for his first time and he was in doggy heaven. I was like a proud mom watching her kid graduate from preschool, seeing my pup splash through the waves and chew on sticks. 

In March, it marked a year since we rescued our Munch. We couldn't imagine life without a dog. We sure got lucky, because Munch is perfect for us. Everyone's experience is different, but I thought I'd just give a little spill of the things we've learned since becoming dog-owners. Maybe it will help someone else who wants to add a canine friend to the family. 
Tip 1: Check your local shelters before buying a dog from a breeder!!
People might think I'm a goofball, but I'm definitely passionate about pet adoption! My very favorite dogs we had growing up were poor puppies that we found as strays. My parents live up a canyon in a secluded area and people often drop their dogs off and leave them for dead (sad face). We often found these strays and my big-hearted, sensitive mom would take them in. My parents' current dog is one we found when I was 15. He had been wandering around in a snowstorm for hours. My mom loaded him in the car and brought him home. I remember helping her feed him and warm him with towels . . . his whole body was quivering. We couldn't find his owner, so we kept him as our own and named him Ringo. He is the sweetest and most loyal dog, and I swear it's partly because we took him in and loved him when no one else would. They say an elephant never forgets . . . I like to believe dogs are the same. Because of my childhood experiences, I knew for my adult life, I wanted to adopt my first dog. Brian and I chose to adopt through Four Paws because they are a no-kill shelter. Sadly, many shelters put dogs down if they don't find forever homes. Four Paws rescues many of the dogs at our local shelter when their time runs out. Four Paws sincerely cares about the animals they provide for and they want to find homes that are a good fit. Because of this, Four Paws was super amazing to work with. They let us do a "trial run" with Munch before we officially signed all the papers. They also had a lot of information on all their dogs because they really work on getting familiar with each dog's personality. Oh, and an added bonus with Four Paws is that they fix all their dogs and have their shots up to date, so you won't have to worry about it. Since rescuing Munch, I think I'm going to go with the rescue route for life. Munch is the sweetest dog. Again, I think it's because we gave him a home when he went without for so long. I don't know where Munch came from before Four Paws, but we've found evidence that he was abused. He flinches if we make quick movements or pick objects up. It is tragic to know he probably didn't have the best life as a puppy, but I feel a little bit of fulfillment knowing I can now give him the love he so deserves. Going to a dog shelter is heart-breaking. There are way too many dogs that go their entire lives without loving homes. Many of them have terrible pasts (we refer to it as Munch's "thug life"). I wish I could adopt them all (maybe one day when we have a bigger yard . . . scooping poop should be fun). So please, please, PLEASE if you are considering getting a dog, check with shelters before going to a breeder. You might not get the exact breed you want, but get over it. The dog's personality matters much more than what breed it is. Surprisingly enough, you can often find full-bred dogs at shelters if you check frequently (they get snatched up fast though). Tragically enough, this is due to irresponsible breeders and irresponsible owners, which brings me to my next tip . . .  

Tip 2: If you do go to a breeder, make sure they are reputable 
If you really do want to pay for a full-bred dog (which will cost more money than pet adoption, mind you), make sure you do your research on breeders. There are way too many irresponsible breeders who don't care about the safety of the dogs. They have only money in mind. With that being said, there are breeders who are passionate about what they do and they act responsibly, making sure their dogs go to safe homes. Choose one of these loving breeders to go through and avoid evil puppy mills at all costs! 
Tip 3: Do your research
Different breeds are often more apt to have certain personality traits, abilities, or health problems. For example, some breeds have higher energy levels than others. If you get a higher energy dog, you'll have to plan on having space for it to run around and you'll have to walk it more frequently. Certain breeds make great running partners while others are just not natural-born athletes. Certain breeds are also more likely to have joint problems later in life, so that's something you need to be familiar with and prepared for. If you think you want a certain type of dog, do your research beforehand. You might find that in reality, it's not the best dog for your lifestyle. I once heard a story of a couple who bought a dog when they were both in school and working, only to later find out the certain breed required constant attention. They didn't keep the dog for long and then sold it to the first person who was willing to buy. Not a great situation for the humans or the dog. The problem could have been avoided if they would have learned about the dog before bringing it home. I have another example from my own life. When "101 Dalmatians" came out, I was obsessed to say the least. I was a dalmatian for Halloween two years in a row and I watched the cartoon on repeat. Then I begged my parents to get me a dalmatian. Since at the time, I was their only precious daughter, they caved and let me get my dream dog. From my childhood memories, I recall that dog being a total demon. I don't even remember his name, I only remember being terrified of him. If you didn't know, dalmatians are VERY hyper dogs. Every time I set foot outdoors, I was knocked over, held down and drooled on by that dalmatian. I have a very distinct memory of being pinned under him, screaming for help while my parents watched and laughed. So anyway, a dalmatian might not be the best choice of dog to get for your three year old . . . unless you hate your three year old.

Tip 4: Make sure you have the time 
Being a dog owner is a real commitment, especially since dogs live for over ten years on average. This is a living, breathing thing that needs your attention and love. You'll need to walk it, feed it, clean up after it, and socialize with it. If you are not home often, you might want to wait for a time in your life when you are around more to get that pup. So yes, if you're in school and working, I'd suggest waiting. If you travel a lot and don't have someone to care for your pet while you're gone, wait. Brian and I both grew up our whole lives with a dog around. Honestly, the hardest part of moving away to college was being away from my dogs. After we first got married, we were dog-hungry, but we knew getting a dog would be irresponsible of us. We were both in school and working full-time. We hardly had time to spend with one another . . . how would we have the time to pay attention to a needy dog? When we got a better handle on our lives, we brought Luna home. The nice thing about cats is that they aren't near as dependent as dogs. Luna worked with our situation at the time since we were only home a few hours a day and were also living in a small apartment. Brian and I made the decision early on that we wouldn't get a dog until 1) we were both done with school and 2) we had a yard where a dog would have room to roam around. Even though I missed owning a dog for several years, I'm grateful I waited.  
Tip 5: Puppies are cute, but they're not for everyone 
Puppies are probably one of the most adorable things on the planet. However, they are also destructive. They will chew things apart. They will have accidents. They will be annoying at times. Yes, puppies are cute . . . but they are not always the answer. If you get a puppy, you will need the time and commitment to train it. You will also need patience. I mean, a puppy is a baby after all. It doesn't know any better. It's a baby you need to teach. A baby with claws and sharp teeth. Just keep that in mind. While I love puppies, Brian and I knew a more mature dog would be better for our life situation. While we are home more, we both still have jobs. We wouldn't have the time to work with a baby dog. And while puppies are cute, so are grownup dogs. Munch is probably around four-years-old. This means he is still young and playful, but he's old enough that he is rarely naughty. He's a great age for our situation. He was already trained to some degree when we brought him home, and he still has the energy to go on runs and hikes with us.  

Tip 6: Be patient 
To be a good dog-owner, you must have patience. Your dog isn't going to act perfectly the second you bring him or her home. Your dog will make mistakes and you will make mistakes too. Don't be too hard on yourself or your loyal friend. Over time, your dog will get comfortable, feel more at home, and also behave better. With time, you will also become more familiar with your dog's strengths and weaknesses. We quickly learned that if Munch isn't on a leash, he will make a mad dash for it. There were several times last summer when we accidentally left our gate door open too long and Munch took off, painting the town red. It was embarrassing to say the least, when we had to drive around asking neighbors if they'd seen him. Luckily, we always found him or he came back home. Now we know better though. Munch knows better too. A year later and he knows he's not supposed to leave the yard. Another thing about Munch is that he was attacked by a bigger dog while at the shelter. When we first brought him home, he actually had some battle wounds from the attack. With that being said, Munch can sometimes be hesitant around other dogs. We've had to be patient working with him on this. We've learned that if we are in a controlled environment, he has no problem being around other four-legged friends. Be patient. Over time, you and your dog will find your groove. If you feel you need extra help with your dog, many places offer affordable obedience classes.    
Hopefully those tips are of assistance. I'm no professional dog expert but just wanted to share some things we learned from our own experience. We can't imagine our lives without Munch. Being a dog-owner is the absolute best. It can be a lot of work, but I know you will love it!  

July Playlist

When I'm not interviewing someone or writing an article, I'm usually in the studio jamming out to music and saying nonsense into a microphone. I'm a radio deejay on a Top 40 station called Utah's VFX (94.5 & 98.3). Since I'm obviously passionate about music, I thought it would be a fun thing to incorporate it into my personal blog. I'm going to start putting together a month-by-month playlist of some songs that I'm loving! ALSO, even though I'm a deejay on a Top 40 station, I feel like I have pretty diverse taste in music. I love all kinds of genres from all different eras. Like, if you didn't know, I'm a huge 80s big hair band fan. My parents' taste in music may or may not have rubbed off on me ;). Without further ado, here is a list of songs that I will probably be listening to nonstop through the month of July!
July Playlist 

1. Let You Go - The Chainsmokers (feat. Great Good Fine Ok)
I'm obsessed to say the least. For me, this is one of those songs that I just get a natural high from. I crank up the volume in my car when it comes on and I just feel invincible. Definitely a fun one to run to as well. Add it to your workout playlist. 

2. Motorcycle Drive By - Third Eye Blind
Third Eye Blind Radio is probably my top played station on Pandora. I love me some Third Eye Blind. And I think this song is super underrated. When I listen to it, I feel sad but also really hopeful. "I've never been so alone, but I've never been so alive." I'm a sucker for good lyrics, fyi. 

3. Warriors - The Str!ke 
The Str!ke is a band based out of Provo, Utah. I'd heard of them before but just never taken the time to listen to any of their music. Boy, that was a mistake. They put on an outdoor concert during Summerfest here in Logan a few weekends ago. Brian and I jammed out to their music the entire time. Warriors was our favorite of the night. 

4. Thunderstruck - AC/DC  
If you don't approve of this song, I'm seriously worried about you. Another one for the workout mix. 

5. Fire Under My Feet - Leona Lewis 
Leona disappeared for a little while. She recently came back with this single and it is catchy, upbeat and full of soul. Another one from my running playlist. My music of choice lately is anything that motivates me to run because, hello, I'm training for a marathon (I'm crazy). 

6. Definitely Maybe - FM Static 
This was a favorite of mine from my high school days, and I just recently rediscovered it. The desperate cry of a man trying to win over the girl who has a jerk for a boyfriend. Sad situation, but really fun song. My favorite line: "I saw what really happened all those times he went for water, when we were at the movie theater watching Harry Potter."  

7. New Romantics - Taylor Swift 
I'll never understand how this song only made it on the 1989 album as an extra. It's one of my favorites from her new stuff. I love the techno/80s feel it has and the lyrics are so smart (but smart lyrics are kinda Taylor's forte). Favorite line: "Baby, I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me." 

8. I Need Your Love - Shaggy (feat. Mohombi, Faydee & Costi) 
This song screams summer for me. And every time it comes on while driving, I instantly start car dancing. Another good running song.

9. Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac 
Give me this song, a swimsuit, a body of water, and a package of Chips Ahoy cookies already. I'm a big fan of Fleetwood Mac, especially this song as of late. 

10. Ship To Wreck - Florence + The Machine 

When the new Florence + The Machine album came out, I immediately bought it. I've had a girl crush on Florence for years now. I think her voice is incredible. This song is one of my favorites off the new album. Listen to it. Now. 
Hope you had a terrific July 4th weekend. I spent mine barbecuing with family, watching several firework shows, going down a giant slip 'n slide, and paddle boarding to my little heart's content. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Truth Tuesday

Here's an amateur sketch, by yours truly . . .

  •  Does anyone else have such issues at work? I was freezing today in my studio. I'm seriously considering packing my snuggie for tomorrow. Opposite problem in the winter. Logan is typically a frozen tundra during the winter months. You put on all the layers you can to protect yourself. You wear the thickest socks you own. And sweaters. You must wear warm sweaters. So in the winter, I go to work dressed to protect myself against a blizzard, only to get in the VFX studio and have it feel much like an Easy Bake Oven. Pretty soon, I'm mopping up a pile of my sweat with the sweater on my back. And yes, my very impressive art is also very dramatic. I feel I must clarify that I actually do not sit in the studio naked. The walls are glass and my coworkers can see inside, so that would be mighty awkward. Also, that was supposed to be a fan in my hand but it very much resembles a tulip . . . or something. 

  • I full-fledged bawled for myself a total of three times last week. That's a lot. I do cry pretty easily but usually not for myself. I guess I'm afraid of being a wuss (oh, the irony!). I was so sick with allergies on top of my sinus infection and I had just HAD it. I was sick of being sick! Typically when I get sick, it only lasts a few days before my body fights it off and bounces back. This time, however, I was a pathetic sick person. I kept trying to do all the things I regularly do as well, and I think it set me back even more. So yeah, I felt like I was wandering through a dark abyss all last week. I took naps every day (I'm not a napper), my exercise was at a bare minimum (I need exercise every day to stay sane), and I wanted to act out violently to just about anyone who crossed my path. So yeah, not a happy week. I went back to the doctor and got some new antibiotics, and this week is off to a much better start. You don't have to worry about me killing you in a fit of rage after all.

  • I absolutely love to create! I've found it's even more of a joy to create things with my husband. One day maybe we will create a baby, but for now we will stick to things like patio furniture. Brian built a sectional for our deck! I showed him a picture of something I liked and he just got out the tools and whipped it up! I even helped sand and stain. I also made the cushions for said furniture. It ended up being a really rewarding and fun project to work on together. Also, we saved tons of cash! Outdoor furniture is so expensive. It was much cheaper just to do everything ourselves, and it really didn't take up too much of our time. Since finishing the furniture, we've eaten dinner out on the deck almost every night. I'm also constantly camped on the new furniture, writing and reading. I'm out here right now typing up this silly blog post! 

  • A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I forgot to celebrate the Fourth of July. I woke up in a serious panic. If you know me, you know I'm a holiday freak. Also, July Fourth is one of my favorites. I most definitely went out and bought an American flag shirt the day after my nightmare. 

  • Father's Day came and went! My dad is the most difficult person to buy gifts for, mainly because he doesn't ever want anything. So like a six year old, this year I made him a candy poster. I knew he would get a kick out of it and I also knew he would for sure eat the candy bars. 

Well, I'm off to see Jurassic World. I haven't seen it yet because, I'll be honest, by the previews I thought it was going to be totally stupid. But according to ticket sales and the reviews people are giving it, I was totally wrong. My bad! I'm glad I was wrong though. I mean, the original Jurassic Park is such a classic.

Peace XO