Friday Funny: Dancing

Happy weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Win a Paw Promise Bracelet Stack of Your Choice!

It’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like the holidays around here as we decorate and prepare for Barli’s first Christmas. I think we’ll have to forego a Christmas tree because…



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DogTipper

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Planting the Seed for a Love of Reading

This post is in partnership with Kabook. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

One of my earliest childhood memories is my parents reading three books to me before bed every night. I remember looking forward to it all evening long, carefully choosing the books we’d read once I had my pajamas on and teeth brushed, and snuggling up to read them. I truly believe this helped plant the seed for my future love of reading. And I knew that once I had kids of my own, I wanted to plant that same seed.

I am grateful for the fact that while my little ones aren’t yet old enough to read (although my 4 year old is starting!), they absolutely love books. (I wish I could say they only loved books and had zero interest in screen time, but let’s just focus on the wins for now, friends.) Whether they were just born with an affinity for books or we’ve been successful in encouraging it I don’t know, but reading with us and pretending to read on their own are two of their favorite activities.

Today I’d thought I’d share some of the things we’ve done to help plant the reading seed in our kids. And if you have other tips for encouraging reading in young children, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

1. Read together every single day. Since the newborn days, we have read books to our kids everyday, usually multiple times a day. It addition to creating a wonderful routine involving something positive (books!), it’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle together and bond.

2. Carry books everywhere you go. I always have a book or two in my bag, we have books in the car, and we bring books on vacation. If the kids get bored at a restaurant, an appointment, or while traveling, instead of giving them the iPad, I first reach for a book. It’s created a healthy habit where the kids ask for a book in these situations instead of crying or complaining. (Although let’s face it, there is plenty of crying and complaining too. We’re all just doing our best, man.)

3. Get library cards. We got library kids for both of our kids when they were around 6 months old. They think that going to the library is a great adventure!

4. Attend story times. Our local nature center has a really fun story time, as does the library. I’ll admit that only recently has my 2.5 year old been able to sit still at them, but my 4.5 year old thinks they’re the bee’s knees. It’s awesome to see them get so excited to attend an event that centers on books.

5. Create a cozy reading spot. Both my kids have “reading nooks” in their bedrooms, where we hung canopy tents from the ceilings and covered the floors with fuzzy rugs and tons of pillows. They both spend so much time in them looking at their books. (Sometimes I go in them too, to be honest. Major cozy factor.)

6. Choose personalized books. This is probably the thing that has most ignited a love for books in my kids. There is nothing quite as exciting when it comes to reading as your child seeing and reading a book that is all about her or him! Our favorite company for getting personalized books for Essley and Emmett is Kabook! Kabook! is unique in that it’s set up so families can work together to custom make a story that is highly personalized with things like the child’s name, user-uploaded photos that are instantly made into illustrations that go along with the story, and other details that are unique to the child. It really allows for your child to be the hero of the book, which is genuinely the coolest thing.

Essley has been doing so well at practicing her reading, so I decided to sit down with her and make a Kabook! book together. She chose Wanted: The Girl/Boy Who Saved the Kingdom, a fun tale about armies of frogs invading a nearby magical kingdom, that can only be saved by the child. We were asked a few questions about some of Essley’s favorite things, where she lives, etc., uploaded a photo, hit order, and we were done. When the book arrived, Essley was beyond thrilled. She couldn’t believe she was seeing herself on the cover and inside as an illustration, or that the book knew so much about her. Emmett is obsessed with it too (I’m making one for him for a holiday gift), and they’ve both been reading it nonstop.

For the holiday season Kabook! is offering four stories (three in addition to the one we ordered), all beautifully written and illustrated – We Hope You Remember: A powerful ode to family love, featuring 15 of your child’s baby photos, Hornswoggled!: A pirate crew has found a mysterious treasure map, but only your child can help them solve the riddles and unveil the treasure, and The List: Santa’s List is Missing a Page: Your child’s page on The List (Naughty or Nice) was accidentally shredded, so the elves are trying to put the page back together in time for the holidays. All four books are available as softcover or hardcover, are affordable (start at $ 24.99), and can be created in a minutes (they take 1 to 45 minutes). If you’re thinking of ordering one for your little one for the holidays (they’re designed for kid ages 0 to 7), just make sure you order by 12/5 (the holiday order cut off date). I can’t wait to own all of them! (Pssst… Use code HOLIDAY20 and you’ll get 20% off your order through 12/31/18! Woot!)

7. Encourage, don’t push. As with most things in the life of a young child, reading might get boring after a while, or our kids might simply feel like doing something else. In that case, I let it go. The biggest thing for me is to make sure reading and book are fun for them, so they’re be more apt to enjoy them. I never want it to feel like a chore.

8. Read yourself! I love reading, but I admittedly don’t have a lot of time for it these days. When I do read though, it makes my kids wants to read too. And that’s a pretty great incentive to make the time.

Who else has little ones who love books? What ways do you plant the reading seed in them?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Snowy Wolf

Natural History

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Adopting a Cat for the Holidays?

Scotty The Cat

Photo credit: @scottytehcaat in Instagram

With about 6.5 million companion animals entering the shelter system each year, half of them cats, adopting a cat may be just about the best holiday gift there is. Plus, we’re all for sleeping in on Black Friday and taking your time visiting your local shelter. But before you go, make sure you’re ready.

Own the litter box. Surprising the kids with a new cat may be half the fun, just know that you’re probably going to be the one responsible for the less-glorious parts of pet ownership. Plan for that in advance, and if older children want to take on these responsibilities you can teach them when they’re ready.

Time it right. A new pet can bring even more joy to the holidays, but if your family will be doing extra traveling, visiting, or entertaining, plan your adoption accordingly. Maybe see if your shelter will hold your adopted cat until the holidays are over. A rescue cat may take a few weeks to get used to your family, let alone a house full of guests.

Plan ahead. Even if the visit to the shelter is a surprise, make sure you’ve got the important stuff at home so you’re ready for your new family member. Cats don’t need a lot, but a litter box, kitty litter, bowls for food and water, and a nutritious, delicious cat food that’s going to help transform them from a rescue to a relative are essentials to get started.

Scotty the Cat Halo Pets

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People of the Bear

Most modern Westerners find the idea of killing a bear extremely perverse. After all, we’ve all grown up with a bit of that subtle propaganda about their gentle ways. Winnie-the-Pooh, Paddington, and countless Teddy Bears have all given us the impression that a bear is sort of like a rotund dog that lives in the forest on nuts and bears and sometimes wanders down to a river and catches salmon.

But to my ancestors who wandered deep into Appalachia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the bear was both a scourge and a bounty on the land. It was a scourge because many black bears became sheep and pig killers, and livestock was not easily brought over from Europe.  But for those who came to trap beaver and hunt deer for hides, the bear was something else: the finest quality red meat that nature provided.

So the Daniel Boones of the world came out into the mountains and hunted black bears as their top choice of meat. I don’t know all my ancestral lines and what they lived off of, but I do know that one of my ancestors was a noted bear hunter. 

Variously called John, Jacob, and Jehu Summers, my six or seven greats grandfather was famous for his Appalachian frontier wanderings. He was born in the Shenandoah Valley in settlement that consisted mostly of Germans from Pennsylvania. He was only the second generation removed from the Palatinate, but his father moved the whole family into the deep Alleghenies to roughly the place where Summersville, West Virgina is located. (The name was originally spelled Somers).

Jehu went west into Kentucky and were he made his living off hides and furs, and in the War of 1812, he found himself running with Andrew Jackson through the Deep Southland, and his name is listed among Kentucky militia at the Battle of New Orleans.

After his service, he went back into the Alleghenies, going into the Western  foothills, where he trapped beaver and sold a fortune to John Jacob Astor. He made a mistake by putting up a bond for the sheriff of the county, who then absconded, and he had pay his whole fortune to cover the debt. And then he went a bit west, where the bears still roamed in big numbers.

Near where the Clay County, West Virginia, courthouse is now located, it was said that he would hunt the bears very hard. Famous stories, perhaps embellished by country tall tales and lore, claim that he once killed a dozen bears one afternoon. 

The story might be dubious, but if it were even half true, it would point both to the ubiquity of the bears in those early nineteenth century days  and to his skills as a hunter and a man of the land.

He made his fortune off the beaver, as so many men of the frontier did back in those days. After all, in a world without synthetics, the felt made from beaver fur was the main substance from which men’s hats were made. This fashion is one big reason why European beavers are so rare. They simply had too much demand for the supply.

But by the artifices of contract and law, he was made a debtor and a pauper, it was the flesh of the black bear that sustained him and his family. That rich red meat filled their stomachs and made their muscles hard.

Such figures would be celebrated in lore, but we live in a different era. My grandpa Westfall, who was on the other side of the family, and perhaps had a different sensibility, saw the bear as a great black devil that should never have been suffered to live. 

He saw the bear as the thing that might kill him or his dogs while hunted in the woods. Even though only a single black bear has ever killed anyone in the history of West Virginia, perhaps he knew of a few nasty stories of bears carrying off sheep or swine from his grandparents. They were of the farming generation, not wild men of the mountains like Summers clan.

That killer bear, by the way, offed three children while they were out flower picking in the high mountains of Randolph County. They were unaccompanied minors, and the bear was a nice young boar, perhaps just testing out a new food source that he’d never really seen before.  The bear was tracked down and killed in short order, so he never became one of those habitual man-eaters of the forest, which we all hear stories about but only rarely see properly documented.

And that one bear meat his demise in that land of the mountain laurel, but countless scores of his of kind have fallen, been skinned, and then placed in smokehouses for the winter.

Fatty bear meat is just what the body needs while trying to make a go of it in the long, frigid winters of the frontier and farmstead, and the grease from the bear is fine for frying all sorts of delicacies.

They were truly the people of the bear, and without the bear, I would not be here. Mine whole line could have been lost on a frigid January night, when the hunger finally slipped in and took away my ancestor into the darkness of infinity.

But we now live in an era in which the black bear is roaring back into much of its old haunts. States, such as New Jersey and Florida, have opened limited hunting seasons on the bear, much to chagrin of the animal rights activists, who think that no animal should ever be hunted.

Never mind that the wilderness is no longer there. Never mind that the bears, when they overpopulate will come into suburbia and tear up things, expensive things. Never mind that the meat of the bear is good and that the hunters pay their license fees to the wildlife departments, which then spend that money on wildlife research and conservation.

Just never mind it all, because we now live in this alienated modern world, which sees man as a devoid of all nature and natural processes. We are a species with a strong sense of what we call morality, but we live in such immoral, materialistic times. Our political systems are broken, yet so much of the population wants to do right. Politicians on the center-left can no longer provide the level of social democracy they once did, so going along with whatever fancy animal rights cause might be a good way to keep the base settled and on your side.

Aldo Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac, “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”

These spiritual dangerous are magnified when one lives without having any knowledge of how hunting works within the North American model of conservation. It is hunting that pays for so much of the wildlife conservation that we all appreciate, but in our urban worlds, we now believe the hunter is the enemy of the deer, the turkey, and the bear, when indeed it is the hunter that paid for much of what it took to have them restored in such bounty.

These dangers are becoming even more hazardous in the era of social media, where we can all have tweeting lynch mob organized when someone shoots an invasive feral goat on an island in Scotland. Cecil the lion got better billing online than all the horrid things Mugabe ever did while he was in power.

And while we’re fighting these little wars online, we’re forgetting that the planet is warming, and it is warming because of us. And that is the real danger for wildlife and for mankind’s continued ease of existence on this planet.

Every second we’re talking about some animal rights cause celebre,  we’re not talking about real issues of conservation, and it would be far wiser if conservationists would distance themselves from animal rights issues as they can. Animal rights campaigning might be good publicity, but ultimately, the goals of preserving wildlife and endangered species will come up hard against the fanatical cry of “never kill one.”

And now I think of my bear-eating ancestors. They would be shocked to have found that this country is now so developed, so technologically advanced, that is now fundamentally alienated from the green wood in which they lived and eked out an existence.

They would surely think of us extraterrestrial and strange, for they would have more in common with the indigenous hunters that they ethnically cleansed from the land than the very people who hold their DNA in the modern era.

They would probably marvel at our advancement, but if they watched it for a little while longer, I bet they would mourn.

I know I certainly would. The People of the Bear have given away to the electronic lynch mob.

Which is as sad a development as the felling of the last giant tulip tree of the virgin forest and slaughter of the last Eastern bison in the Allegheny mountains.

It is a passing of something great, that can never be restored.

And, yes, it should be mourned.

Natural History

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The Paw

Anka’s paw, extended out over the snow:

Natural History

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It is very nice information…My dog also suffers fr…

It is very nice information…My dog also suffers from SA and can go through crates (or walls) in about an hour. Finally after coming home to her out but with a collapsed crate hooked into her skin and being dragged around the apartment I gave in and bought this.i’ll wait for your next article.
BAD RAP Blog

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Tips to Help Extend Your Dog’s Life

I’ve had several friends lose pets to old age lately, and quite frankly, my Penny is not getting any younger. Here are some longevity tips from KDKA, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh. Until next time, Good day, and good og!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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RSVP for #CevaHoliday Twitter Party!

Ceva Animal Health has sponsored this post and the upcoming party, but all opinions are my own. We all know that the holidays, for all its fun, can also be stressful for us and our pets, whether…



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DogTipper

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