As A Dog Parent, If I Don’t Ask For Your Opinion, I Probably Don’t Want It

We’ve all been there. That morning at the dog park or on a walk when someone says, “you know, you should really get another kind of leash”. “Your dog’s nails are too long”. “So who’s walking who?”. You should really learn how to control your dog”. “Why do you let your dog walk in front of you? Haven’t you ever taken him to obedience school?” “You know, it wouldn’t hurt if you let your dog off leash. What? He would run away? Oh, you must not have trained him early.” I could go on and on.

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I’m not saying that I know everything there is about dogs, training or nutrition. But I am saying that if I don’t ask for your opinion, well, I probably don’t want it. Did I say that out loud?

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My dogs have taught me many things, one of which is to go with the flow. When I first rescued them from the shelter, they were the first dogs I had ever “picked out”. So I made it my goal to learn how to take care of them the best way possible. I asked for people’s guidance when I took Brickle to the dog park for the first time and he was uncontrollable. They were kind, they offered me assistance, and as he grew up, we laughed later about how he had improved. Those exchanges were welcome, asked for, and positive. The guidance I received was out of a place of concern and love, not judgement. And judgement is what I take offense to.

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You see, I have come to realize that there is no right and no wrong way to parent your dog. For things like nutrition, I certainly have my own strong opinions on dog food and health. However, unless someone asks me specifically for my opinion or experience, I would never tell them that they were wrong in the way they feed their dog. Why? First off, not everyone can afford the “best” food, or do they have access to fresh ingredients where they live. I never thought about this aspect until traveling the entire United States. There were areas where grocery stores were hours away, and even then, choices were limited. How was I to judge how people were able to feed their dogs? Do I believe that organic and fresh food will help our dogs to live longer? I do. But I also realize that for dogs to have a home…someone that loves them and takes care of their basic necessities…that is a lot more than what most dogs can ask for, or hope for. And I applaud the people that take care of their own in the best way that they individually can.

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I often have people remark on how my dogs are “walking me”. And I do have a sense of humor. However I would never say this to someone because I don’t know what the dog has been through, or the physical or mental capabilities of the owner or the dog. If someone asked me if I wanted a suggestion on how I could walk them “better”, I might react a bit differently if given out of a place of concern. But what they don’t know is the Digby was a hunting dog, he ran away, and for Digby, being off leash is dangerous and means his life.

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Oftentimes, I feel like dog parents are looking for ways to make other dog parents feel bad for the choices that they make so that they feel better about theirs. And when others cannot look past the one way that they feel is the best way to parent a dog, well, that is not loving, that is not kind. and totally not necessary. What is our ultimate concern as dog parents? Our dogs and having them with us as long as possible! We can’t judge others for the way we believe is the best way. Because their way IS the best way for their dogs if they are physically and emotionally taking care of their own.

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We all are going through different things in our lives, we all were raised differently, and no one else has walked in our shoes. Well, my dogs have walked on them. They have chewed on them. But when we all realize that there is no one way to take good care of a dog, maybe we will simply thank other dog parents we see for taking care of their own. And maybe, if they ever need our help or guidance, we will be more likely to give and to receive.

-Rachael Johnson, Owner, Girl Person, 2 Traveling Dogs

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We’re Old Cowhands From The Rio Grande

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  When I woke up yesterday, I had no idea that I would be standing at the Rio Grande by the evening. Actually, I didn’t know there was a Rio Grande.  I didn’t know that Mexico would be behind me.  And well.  I didn’t know that there would be cows in them there hills.  Sorry.  My Southern accent comes out sometimes.

We’re old cowhands from the Rio Grande
And we come to town just to hear the band
We know all the songs that the cowboys know
‘Bout the big corral where the doggies go
We learned them all on the radio
Yippie yi yo kayah

As you know, we had a ruff time at our last campsite in this Texas place.  And well, it was time to move on to greener pastures.  Where are those pastures? We are in the desert,  y’all.

Down from the Rio Grande
Oh where the west is wild all around the borderland

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But Girl Person assured us that we were in fact where we were supposed to be. I took her word for it.

Get along little horsy
Yippie yi yo kayah, oh!

We found our campsite outside of the National Park last night and Sheriff Brickle was pretty happy. He had his picnic table.  Yes, we were in another pit of dust with no grass to be seen.  Anywhere.  But we didn’t have wobbly people stealing our picnic tables and we didn’t have people trying to run us over either.  We had driven a very long way to see this National Park called Big Bend National Park, and we are looking forward to it today.  But for last night, we took a little breather and gazed out onto the Rio Grande.  It was a sight to behold!  Even Sheriff Brickle had to not think about himself for one moment.

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That’s Mexico over there. #riogrande #2travelingdogs

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Girl Person said that sometimes, when you want to see something or do something in life, it won’t be an easy path to get there.  In fact, sometimes, you don’t even know if the journey will be worth it.  But how will you ever know unless you try? It took so much work and many miles to get to here and to see this park.  But we made it.  We had to try. Because we don’t know if we will ever be back this way again.

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Girl Person said that often, the older we get, the less we think we can do.  She said that just because you may be older, it does not mean that you still can’t go for your dreams.

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Many times, she said it may be as simple as wanting to see something only a few miles away.  Sometimes, it may be a longer journey to find your dream..and a lot of work.  But she said that you are worth it.  You are more than your daily chores, your job, your obligations.  You are YOU.  You are the same person that you were as a child, you are worth the same.  Be good to you and see and do what you can… before you can’t.

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Yes, Sheriff Brickle and I have seen so much in the past year and a half.  But what was right in front of us at the beginning is still here at the close of our journey. And that is good enough for me.  Because I still have my persons, my health and another journey of life still ahead.  So if you are not in good health, and maybe wish you had done more…think of what you did get to see, who you did get to love.  And cherish those memories too!

I’m a cowboy who never saw a cow
Never roped a steer cause I don’t know how
Sure ain’t a fixin’ to start in now

 

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Life is so much more than what is right in front of us and where we live.  There are people who live in the mountains. There are people who live near the ocean.  And yes, there are people who live in the desert.  And they all had dreams.  We are all the same when it comes down to it.

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So as we find ourselves in the vast solitude of the desert this weekend in Big Bend National Park, we hope that you will join us and learn with us.  Because if we listen…we have a lot yet to see.  No matter what our age.

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We’re old cowhands from the Rio Grande
And we come to town just to hear the band
We know all the songs that the cowboys know
‘Bout the big corral where the doggies go
We learned them all on the radio
Yippie yi yo kayah

Check in on our Facebook page and Instagram today for our journey through Big Bend National Park!

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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