Monday, August 27, 2007

The Journey

The Journey, by Crystal Ward Kent

When you bring a pet into your life, you begin a journey - a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage. If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and, most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark.

Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life's simple pleasures - jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears.

If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or log will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower - except when heading home to the food dish - but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.

Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details - the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essense all its own.

Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and dance flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life's most important details slip by.

You will find yourself doing silly things that your pet-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the grocery aisle looking for the cat food brand your feline must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your pet enjoys the ride.

You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewie toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie - with a cat in hot pursuit - all in the name of love.

Your house will become muddier and hairier. You will wear less dark clothing and buy more lint rollers. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that an old plastic shopping bag adorns your living room rug because your cat loves the crinkly sound.

You will learn the true measure of love - the steadfast, undying kind that says, "It doesn't matter where we are or what we do or how life treats us as long as we are together." Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race.

And you will learn humility. The look in my dog's eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your pet always knew you to be - the one they were proud to call beloved friend.

I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear animal companion will follow a trail you cannot yet do down.

And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet's time on earth is far too short - especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left.

The cat that only yesterday was a kitten is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun. The young pup of boundless energy wakes up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts, they would be broken.

But give them we must, for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead - young and whole once more. "God speed, good friend," we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again.

Fun at the Dash N Splash

Fun at the Dash N Splash
Saturday was the local Dash N Splash. WOW!!! What a huge event! There were dogs absolutely everywhere, and so many that people can't go in the water - just the dogs. So that means I couldn't go in and coax my guys into the water, but we had fun all the same. Truth be told, that many dogs in the water sure gave it a "different" look and I probably didn't want in anyway! lol

Tanner and I gathered up Bandit, Cooter, and Fa Zhou and away we went for our adventure. The water portion was in one fenced in area that was treated like a dog park - all the dogs had to be off leash. Oh no! I wasn't sure how well mine would stick with me with all the other distractions there because this was much larger and much more full than any dog park we had ever gone to.

Wasn't worried so much about Bandit - after all, he had been working on his obedience and agility training with Tanner. He's admittedly better at it in the ring and at home than with trying to mark over all the bigger dogs' scents (and there was that cute curly haired big girl who took him on a wild chase through everyone's legs). But overall he had a blast and minded her pretty well.

Cooter stuck with me at a reasonable distance, but he certainly made the rounds. People, dogs, water, he was ready to experience everything and make friends! He's such a good boy. He only got away from me a couple of times where I couldn't see him. And at one point he somehow got to the other side of the pool where it was really deep and this cute English Bulldog was jumping off the platform. It scared me, thinking he was going to follow her without me right there to save him if need be, so I shouted his name a few times. Tony never gets to name the animals again. Yelling "COOTER" over a crowd of people certainly got me some undesireable looks.

Fa Zhou was the wild card. We've had him out socializing and he does well with other animals, and is slightly reserved around people he hasn't met, so it was a guess what he'd try to do and who he'd try to follow. A few times he followed Cooter into whatever adventures he was into. But I think he sensed my worry trying to keep track of everything so he started sticking closer to me. Fortunately, he's a lot smarter than I am. I didn't realize he was near me, and I'd spin in circles looking for him, calling him, only to find out that he was behind my legs. As I turned, he'd jump and was trying to be a good boy by being right behind me where he thought he should be. He made some friends, in particular this white boxer puppy. They would love to be best friends!

We survived the water part, then got the leashes back on and went out to the main area with the vendors. They had lots to see and do. There were many interesting vendors, and they had a silent auction table full of bags of goodies. There was a grandstand where they had fun contests - costumes, best kisser, etc., going on. They even had food for the people and an animal communicator with quite a crowd around her.

It was hot and a bit of a challenge to keep the dogs cool outside of the water area, but they had some misting fans set up that were getting some good use. The event was well-planned and it was a great way to spend the afternoon. We'll definitely plan on it next year!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

CGC Challenge

Inspired by the progress that Tanner and Bandit have made, we'd like to issue a challenge to everyone who has either purchased, been given or rescued a dog through Briarwood Kennels.

The challenge is to become Canine Good Citizen certified. To become certified requires certain training and passing a test administered by a qualified CGC evaluator. Local specialty clubs, AKC judges, some 4-H leaders, therapy dog evaluators, veterinarians, vet techs, groomers, private trainers, kennel owners, animal control and police K-9 officers can give the test. Please visit the link above to the AKC's official website for more information and for a list of evaluators and classes.

Classes might be available for the training portion, or for those who wish to do-it-yourself, a highly recommended book is

The Canine Good Citizen

The intent of this contest is to strengthen the human/dog bond. With the use of positive reinforcement and the time and attention given to the dogs, everyone in the family will reap the rewards and benefits of having a well-mannered and close companion. Again, we must caution against using a choker chain of any sort or any other forceful/negative means of training for this goal.

Those who wish to participate should send us an email stating the intent to begin training so we can get an idea of who might working on it and so we can send you some motivational emails. The award structure is based on who achieves the goal first and those who sequentially follow.

On the date of the test, send us an email regarding pass or fail. The email will be the marker of who has completed first (with passing scores). The email MUST be followed by a copy of the test form that the evaluator will provide to at the time the test is given (this form is mailed to the AKC to acquire the actual certificate). We will respond with an acknowledgement email and an address to where you will send the scoresheet. Upon receipt of this document, awards may be given.

First Completion:
$50 Visa Check Card, Doggie Crate Mat

Second Completion:
$25 Visa Check Card, Doggie Plush Chew Toy

Third Completion:
$10 Gift Certificate, Doggie Chew Toy

Fourth and Fifth Completion:
2 Dog Toys each or $5 gift certificates each

This contest is good until all slots have been completed. It takes approximately 6-8 weeks to complete the training. At some point, this information will be moved to its own page for reference. In your emails to us with notifications of winning, please include a picture of the dog, its name, and whether or not you wish to have your name included.

We salute those willing to take the challenge and improve the quality of life for their loved ones.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Doggie Dash 'N Splash

Open swim and socialization time!

Pet related Exhibitors - Land & Water Games - Pet Microchipping
Product Samples - Concessions for Humans and Canines - Pet Psychic
Pet Photography - Canine Demonstrations - Silent Auction & Raffle
Lots of fun & prizes
Saturday, August 25, 2007
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Fairground Recreation Center
210 Fairground Rd., Xenia
Free admission; $5.00 parking donation
All proceeds will benefit the Scout Burnell-Garbrecht Dog Park
All well-mannered dogs on non-retractable leashes are welcome

Humane Society Rescues Pugs - MO

Humane Society rescues Pug pups

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Humane Society of Missouri and other authorities have rescued 36 animals believed to be endangered on a breeder's property in southwestern Missouri.

The group said the owner could no longer care for the animals and had voluntarily surrendered them.

The rescue happened Thursday on property near Collins, Mo. The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department assisted.

Rescued were 30 Pugs (both adults and puppies), two adult Boston Terriers, one adult Blue Heele,; two domestic rabbits and one cat.

Some of the animals were thin, had eye problems and appeared to have upper respiratory infections. They will be cared for and housed at the Humane Society and will become available for adoption.

Pugs were once companions of Buddhist monks and the favored dog of aristocrats and kings. Advertisement

Anyone interested in adopting a Pug may call the Humane Society at 314-802-5712.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A pug giving birth and the first 6 weeks

Here is a video someone made chronicling the birth of some pug puppies as well as their early weeks in life. A good documentary!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pug Steals Food

One of my all-time favorites!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bronze Medal

Bronze Medal
Category: Pets and Animals

After their impressive performance in obedience at the local fair, Tanner and Bandit made their way to the Ohio State Fair where they WHOMPED in the agility ring. They came out third place in their height and experience group (going against at least 8 shelties, some bostons, a beagle, some jack russells, etc) and walked away with a gorgeous bronze medal. Bandit was the only pug, forging the way for pugs after him, earnin' respect and admiration :D Can you tell we're proud of them??