Kansas may be Dorothy’s home in the Wizard of Oz movie, but many others love this state just as much. Listen as Boy Person and Girl Person talk about our encounter with a tarantula, chalk formations that should be on your bucket list, and a group of animal rescuers doing wonderful things for all animals. It’s all on this week’s 2 Traveling Dogs Pawcast Podcast. Listen on Itunes and Stitcher, and please leave us a review!
This post is part of our Saturday Editorial section. Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking every weekday.
Oh, what lessons we learn in life. Sometimes, we think that we know it all. Sometimes, we think that we are experts in what we deem important in our lives. If we devote much of time, energy and devotion to a cause, it only becomes natural that the cause becomes part of who we are. I thought I knew everything there was to know about animal rescue. I sure was wrong. Because I had not recognized the most important part. Yet.
As I have said before, I never expected my life to take a turn, literally, to the path of animal rescue. This path chose me. Or, in fact, my dogs led me down it. I also never expected that this path would lead me to the 48 contiguous states and 48 animal rescues in the span of less than a two year time period. But, I wouldn’t change that now. Although that path changed me.
I knew before our trip, “48 states, 48 rescues” that the problem of animal homelessness in our country was an overwhelming one. I tried to prepare myself, and mostly, I tried to prepare my husband. My husband was not one who liked social media, and I had been solely in charge of the animal rescue side of our brand. I was the one that shared posts of animals and situations to set up transport. My husband preferred to leave that to me..because honestly, he couldn’t handle this emotionally. Maybe you have felt the same. And that is why the premise of our brand, websites and social media sites have also presented animal rescue in a fun way. Yet, now, we were going to see these animals face to face. But we found that often, it wasn’t the animals that affected us the most on this trip. It was the people. The people at the shelters, rescues and organizations who had spent years of their time doing this. I felt their pain beyond any emotion in animal rescue that I had ever felt. And it broke my heart.
So many have asked us since this trip of one specific example that touched us the most. And when I honestly say there was not, I mean it. Because to say that one animal or one person that we met was more important than another would be disrespectful. Every person and every animal had their own, important story. And the story that we read over and over were that there is a big problem in this country and our world. Not just for animals. But for the people that are trying to save these animals.
Many times, the exhaustion and weariness would be apparent the moment we walked into a shelter. But most times, it wasn’t until we toured the facilities or homes and heard the stories of the animals, that we saw a need. Of course, for the animals. But the ones telling us these stories were leaving out one crucial detail of their rescue. Their story. Why they gave so much of themselves. And why they did this. Day after day. Year after year.
But beyond that, we wanted to know, what kept them going. So many times, it was the fact that they helped even one animal that propelled them forward. And we knew how that felt.
Sometimes, they felt like they had no choice. They felt if they did not help the animals in their community, no one else would. And I suppose in many times, they were correct. Very correct. And yet, I saw the exhaustion, the mental and physical exhaustion. Not many people have a job or volunteer in life or death situations. Yet, for animal rescuers, every day is this situation. So with all the good that we saw in these selfless people doing what they could for animals where they lived and beyond, we saw the need for changes. Because not only are the animals in a life or death situation, the people helping them are too.
Why? There is no stopping animal rescuers. When your heart is in the right place, you keep going, you keep advocating and you keep working. A few weeks ago, an article that I wrote last year went viral, “Why It Hurts Me When My Friend Buys A Pet”. And when it went viral, the comments on social media and the article itself provided an outlet for many who did not feel the same about the plight of homeless animals. The conversation surprised me. No, not the remarks. I have heard the excuses all before. But how I felt about these remarks surprised me. I was really angry inside. I felt no one seemed to care that I had spent two years of my life and funds to visit 48 shelters to learn and give praise to these rescuers. NO, they did not care. I was not going to change their minds no matter what. And it is that feeling I had of helplessness and disrespect that I know animal rescuers feel everyday. Yet. They keep going. They keep doing. Oh, how I admire them.
So how are we going to help these ones who need saving themselves? I will be blunt. Feeling sorry for them helps no one. Until there is not a need for animal rescue any longer, the ones doing the work will push themselves to the limit. They will give of themselves every day. Some days they may think they can’t do it one more day. Yet they will. And if we don’t help them first, and advocate for animal rescue second, this cycle will continue. Say thank you to a shelter worker, volunteer or organization today. Whether that thank you is with a donation, a card, or a meal to the people helping the animals, do your part. Do you know who originally helped YOUR rescue animal? Can you thank them in some way today?
And to the animal rescuers out there who think that no one knows how much they do, or how much they give of themselves everyday, we say thank you. You are amazing. You are a true lifesaver.
But you, and only you will have to decide if you are important enough to take a break, to take a breather, to take a day off. Don’t let anyone tell you when to do it. You will know when it is time. And the animals will be here when you get back. You were meant to do this. And every animal you have saved, helped, bandaged, or loved thanks you too. But above all else, thank yourself.
This is Deputy Digby Pancake. Hours and days and weeks and months can go by without even blinking an eye, it seems like. Then a year goes by, or two. And you wonder where it went. Like when I look at that plate of pancakes that was right in front of me two minutes before. Then, where did it go?
When we first got here to the beach in Florida at the end of January, it was so exciting. We didn’t know how long we were going to be here, so every night, Girl Person would pick up a shell to remember every single day that we spent on the beach. It might be a colorful shell, or just a white shell, or a gray shell, a big shell or a little shell. But every shell on every day was different and special. And the days kept going by. And our collection of shells grew. Oh, it’s a pretty collection.
But lately, I noticed that Girl Person would forget to pick up a shell. I saw that she no longer was looking for shells as much because she was thinking too much. She was thinking about life and worries and where we were going to go after this. And I knew that every day she forgot to pick up a shell, she was going to be sorry. We were taking them for granted. And not in a good, Amy Grant sort of way.
You see, all of the shells out here were for our enjoyment, and should have been something that we were admiring and appreciating everyday. And I felt like every shell that I stepped on, or peed on, was just waiting to be picked up. And we weren’t even giving them that chance.
How many times in your life has something been new and you saw every good thing about it? How many times has a person been in your life that at first you adored, but then noticed all of their imperfections, and the adoration wore off? Was it because they changed, or was it because you changed? Was it because you no longer thought they were important enough to notice their beauty? For every beat of our heart, we have a chance not to take something or someone for granted.
You see, just like the thousand million and five shells that I have looked at the past few months, there may be a lot of people in our life. But do we take the time to pick out their good qualities each and every day? I can’t pick up every shell, I know that. But I certainly can remember each and every day that we have been here by having the same amount of shells.
Because no matter if we have to leave here, or what we do after this, I say thank you, shells. Thank you for your beauty that each of you holds differently. Thank you for being a house for who lived inside you for awhile. Because you were our house too. Our house of peace and reflection and fun. Also, thank you for washing up here on our beach so that we could pick you up. Just. Thank you.
Remember that we collect something each day that we are alive. We collect memories that we carry with us all of the rest of the days in our life. Make them worth picking up.
This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. Every day when we wake up, we have a few choices. What to eat for breakfast. Who to arrest. Who not to arrest… which is no one. We also have a choice on whether we choose to live life, or just live. Whether you want to admit it or not, and I am a Sheriff, so I get people to admit stuff, you have a lot of control over your day. Even if Brisky and Frisky wake you up at the crack of dawn.
Yep. Sometimes you would think that when you live in a big house on wheels that you should expect a few odd things in normal, day to day living. Like sometimes, the RV shakes at random. Often, things stop working like air conditioners or water heaters or electricity or batteries or refrigerators. Ok, maybe that is just in this RV. You would also think that you would have less of a chance of things going wrong when you are sitting still, but nope. Things still break at random, and you get kind of used to it. So when your house starts shaking, you think, oh great, what now. But you never would think that there are elephants on top of it, unless you hear the elephants on top of it. And you wonder. Is this really normal?
There I was, doing my normal thing of laying around watching the persons make their coffee mud, listening to Digby snore and kick the wall, and waiting until it was time to go outside. Then. The shaking started like an earthquake. Or, I mean, RV quake. None of us knew what it was, but as I looked outside and saw them, I knew. These guys. Brisky and Frisky must have already had their coffee mud. Brisky and Frisky had an early start, and they intended to live their life today by trying to knock over the bird feeder. Yes, the Olympics should just stop right now. The winners of all time are Brisky and Frisky.
The RV shook so hard that we wondered if the squirrels were in fact going to drop down through the skylight. And if that would have happened, I can’t say that an arrest would have come. Because there would have been two. But instead of falling through the ceiling, they hooked their feet onto the lights in the front of the Big Blue Treat Wagon RV, hung upside down, and managed to not only eat most of the bird seed in one sitting, but they took some for later, ran up the tree about ten times, back across the RV and this was on repeat for about an hour. Until Boy Person wondered if they were playing so hard that they were going to damage our windshield! So as he went outside to survey the situation, the squirrels became surprised and jumped so far that they surprised themselves. We were all surprised. Surprise, surprise, surprise. This was a show that anyone would pay to watch. Brisky and Frisky were out to entertain, impress and captivate their audience. Except for Digby. He was still asleep.
As I sat there and watched Brisky and Frisky, and as I watched the persons watch Brisky and Frisky, I wondered. Was there much more to a good day than this? Persons can start to think that everything is a bother, a pest. But when they actually take just a minute to see the Briskys and Friskys all around them, and the humor in all of the things that make the world go round, that is a gift.
The squirrels had fun taking our gifts to be sure, but they left us with much more in return. All animals do. And it is our responsibility to show them our thanks in helping them when we can. Or simply…just letting them BE.
We all are just renting space on this earth, no matter what your piece of paper says. Whether you are parked in a space for a little while, or pour concrete over your space, take the time to meet the ones that were there long before you. And who have a right to be there too. See how they live life every day because they choose to. You can make the same choice too.
I wish though, that Brisky and Frisky might set their alarms for an hour later tomorrow. Just a suggestion, guys.
This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. Sometimes, someone needs so much arresting that you don’t even need the report. Sometimes, someone needs the law laid down firmly. Even if your name isn’t Sally. It’s Odie.
You think that you are having a peaceful, uneventful walk thru the campground after taking a swim. You think. You think that there is no danger waiting for you around that corner. You take the snapshot in your mind of a bathroom facility that is unassuming, not dangerous by any sort of the imagination. And then. You go around that corner. And he’s there. Waiting. Not in a Richard Marx sort of way at all.
Now. We have walked by this guy before. Odie. Oh, we know his name because his person has to hold him back from us as we pass by. No, he isn’t a big fellow. In fact, he is knee high to a grasshopper as Granny used to say. But nonetheless, I am not one to cause trouble, look for trouble or want trouble. I take care of trouble.
However, when trouble is on a leash, attached to a post outside of a bathroom, I steer clear of said trouble. Named Odie. He meant business y’all. And without his person there, I will tell you this. That leash had no chance. And so Odie. He saw a chance. And he took it.
Odie twirled and he growled and he snarled and he lunged. Deputy Digby and I kept walking, which I can only assume was not acceptable to Odie. And as he twirled just one more time, his leash came off that post. And I knew as soon as the episode occurred. This wasn’t gonna be pretty. Well, I am always pretty. But not the episode. And so as he ran toward us with the vigor of the wind sweeping over a hot trash heap, which was right next to the bathroom by the way, we froze. Like ice. That is all we could do.
Girl Person knew that she had a choice. Try to grab Odie’s leash, but nope. His teeth on our legs said nope. She knew that she could scream though. And scream she did. She yelled to anyone, anyone that would hear, preferably not in the bathroom with his pants off, that Odie was loose. She tried to keep cars from hitting us all on the road, yet, they seemed to slow down when they saw the commotion. Some may have even turned around. And as a last resort, she yelled, “Your dog is loose!!!!”. There was no choice. And out came Odie’s person. Odie’s half pant wearing person.
Now, I never do anything half way. You know that. And wearing pants or wearing pants half way just isn’t necessary at all. Unless you are chasing a dog named Odie who is biting my feet. You should wear pants for everyone’s sake.
So as Odie saw his person running towards him with a sight to behold, Odie knew his gig was up. And it was time to pull the pants up. His person said no words. Only one. Odie. And everyone just knew that no words were necessary. It was time to move along. And my arrest report? It needed no words either. I simply entitled it, “The Episode”. It is not rated PG. It is rated PG-Odie. That’s a scary, scary rating.
Now, you would have thought that everyone would have been mad. Everyone would have been angry. No need for anger in some places. Certainly not outside a campground bathroom. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh. Unless you are Odie.
So the next time you see an unassuming bathroom facility and a dog that is waiting…right there waiting…I suggest that you walk just a little bit faster. A lot faster. Or cover your eyes.
-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle
Don’t miss Girl Person LIVE on our Facebook page today cooking up an International dish for dogs. I love anything made with coconut and today, we travel to Samoa and make a dog friendly treat! Join us at 1 pm ET on Facebook!
This is Deputy Digby Pancake. What a difference a day makes. Or two. One minute you are feeling all good, the next minute you are running out the door in the campground trying to get some air so you don’t pass out from sickness. Well, that was Girl Person. And it was a very long few days in this Big Blue Treat Wagon RV. It was long for Brickle too. You see, when Girl Person is sick, the Sheriff is sick. And that makes us all wish for normalcy again. Normal sometimes seems like perfection when it is taken away from you.
I’m not one to get worried, except when completely necessary, and I even wondered what I could do to help Girl Person feel better. I didn’t know what medicine to buy, so Boy Person took care of getting her all kinds of drinks and remedies. He took care of pretty much everything. I was able to go to my happy place in my mind. Because even when things look bleak, you can always go there.
But I also knew something was missing, and she just wasn’t going to get better without it.
However, I knew that I had to let her rest, there was no choice in that matter, and I am a very good sleeper. Except for kicking the wall every five minutes and snoring, I am the best sleeper in the world. I let Girl Person do some sleeping too, hoping that when the next day came, she would be able to take my medicine. Dr. Doggo Digby was on call. And I was ready. Spoon and all.
I waited for her to rest. Spoon all ready. And I even channeled my own, inner Mary Poppins so that I would be ready when the sun came up.
You might think that I had a half dollar size pancake in my spoon, or maybe even peanut butter. But no. I had sand. I had salt. I had water. She needed the beach. Or maybe we all did. And when you wake up, it’s a new day, and Girl Person is feeling better, well, you feel like you can do anything!
So as Girl Person woke up and had a little bit of her normal yucky coffee stuff, she told me and Sheriff Brickle that she felt like we needed the beach. She was going to take Dr. Doggo Digby’s orders. And I have to tell you. Even though we have been to the beach about a million times since we got here months ago, it sure looked pretty. It sure felt nice. And it was better than any medicine could have been.
As we waded in the water and appreciated the time we had, well, it got me to thinking. We all have a happy place. Yours may not be the beach, it may be the mountains, or a creek, or maybe even the craziness of a big city. If you find out what makes you happy, and you know what makes you happy, when the not so good days come up, you can think of that place in your mind and work towards getting back there. We all have to have something and some place to look forward to. It is what keeps us going, keeps us moving.
No matter what anyone else thinks, or even may say, never change your happy place. It is yours and yours alone. It can be the best medicine that you’ll ever take.
Girl Person may still have a few days to feel all the way better, but if she keeps taking her medicine like Dr. Doggo Digby prescribes, she won’t be sorry. Also, it will make my dinner time not be late again. That’s in the prescription.
This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. Have you ever gazed upon something magical, something wonderful, something worth gasping about, and you think of who you want to tell about it? Perhaps I can illustrate this way. You know, it’s the feeling every time you see me and you have to tell the world. You have to. It’s natural to feel a bit of puppy love.
That was how I felt this weekend as Girl Person and I were walking on the beach. You may wonder where Deputy Digby was. With all of our thunderstorms and rain and lightening, he has become a bit obstinate. If it is raining, or if rain is even thinking about raining, Digby ain’t goin nowhere. And so after Girl Person almost pulled her back out trying to carry him down our flooded, campground roadway, she gave up. She took Digby back to the Big Blue Treat Wagon RV and he was happy to wait it out. However, what Digby didn’t know was that the rain never came, and then me and Girl Person were alone on the beach a mile away. Feeling pretty empty without Digby with us. It just didn’t feel right at all. And that’s when I saw it. The castle in the sand.
Truth be told, and I always tell the truth, I was a bit down. Without Deputy Digby to make my life more difficult, it had become too easy for that hour. And normally, when we see a sandcastle, Girl Person has to pull Digby away from peeing on it. She has to block him from knocking it down. And well. There the castle was, just being a castle, no one was around, and the castle wasn’t in any danger. This wasn’t so much fun. Boring. I felt like we were just wandering around for no reason.
I knew that I should try and remember to tell Deputy Digby about the castle in case the next day he wanted to do his business plan on it. I took a picture in my mind of our coordinates, and I sat down next to it so that Girl Person could take my picture. She started laughing because she thought that I really, really, liked this castle. Well, I did. I didn’t even care that people were walking by gazing at the feast for the eyes that was me by a well built castle. Oh, I looked like an angel.
As I sat there though, and I admired this castle that was all mine, and not even Digby’s…I wondered. Was a castle really worth having if you were the only one there? Was a castle even as majestic or big or pretty if only one person saw it? Wouldn’t its beauty be worth more the more people that visited it? I wondered.
As I gazed upon the castle, and wished for the days gone past when Digby would have just knocked it down, it occurred to me. Even I can’t be King of the castle with no one else there.
As I did my deep thinking as usual, I turned my back to the castle. With one, big wave, the castle was washed away. And I suppose that I knew it would happen. There is nothing material in our life that can’t be taken away in an instance…including the ones that we love. It didn’t matter to me at that point that the castle had been washed away. It only mattered to me that in a few minutes time, I could walk back to our RV and see my Deputy again. I was feeling pretty good that I had that chance. However, when you leave Digby all alone in an RV for an hour, your castle sure doesn’t smell like a castle. And yet, that was ok. I might not be a King of a castle, but King of an RV is a pretty good job too.
We all build on what is important to us. Be careful that your worth isn’t based on something that can be lost or washed away. You can spend all of your time building something that although big, will leave no room for anything else in your life. Fill your castle with the ones you love. Even if your castle is a house on wheels.
In this week’s podcast, Girl Person, Boy Person, Brickle and Digby take you with us on our tour in Colorado. We talk about mountains, peaks, trails and of course a dog friendly, Colorado treat. Plus, we visit an animal rescue that is there for people when they need someone the most. Join us in Colorado!
This is part of our weekly editorial series. Normally, we let the dogs do all of the talking.
I have loved many people in my life. Some are still here. Some I miss every day. Sometimes I think back and wonder if I told the ones that are no longer here that I loved them as many times as I should have. I wonder if there was something else that I should have said or should have told them. Yet, words don’t come easy to me. By that I mean, words that I have to speak. To…people.
But when it comes to my dogs, this is not even an issue. In fact, I know that my dogs must get tired of my constant displays of admiration and kisses. They must see me coming at them every morning and every night and wonder if I will break my record of saying “I love you” from the day before. And I always do. The relationship I have with my dogs comes as naturally to me as not speaking to people does. I’m still working on that, by the way. Yet, there is something that I wonder every ten minutes. Ok, every five. Do my dogs really and truly understand how much I love them?
I understand that the short answer to my question is that there is no way they know how much I love them. Because I find it difficult to even explain to myself. I never knew that I could love two individuals as much as I love my dogs. Which is why I find it utterly and completely necessary to tell them all day long how much they mean to me.
I wasn’t always this willing to love this completely. We have all dealt with losses of people and furkids. And when that happens, we build up a bit of a wall and a guard. I think that this is only natural. But one day, I woke up and I knew. If I didn’t give my heart fully to my boys and truly love them as much as I possibly could, they might not know how special they were. They might not know that I felt so fortunate they were in my life. I was going to get hurt in the end. One day. But I didn’t care. Because the enjoyment of loving with a full heart made that irrelevant. Truly irrelevant.
I often think of ways that I can make my dogs happier. Do they have enough treats, do they need a new bed? Are they still enjoying this travel gig? Are they fulfilled, do they enjoy their walks? Maybe you have different questions of your own. But the past two years, spending every waking moment with my dogs in the close quarters of an RV has taught me something. My dogs DO know how much I love them. Why? Is it because I make their food every day from scratch? Is it because they have a million fans on Facebook? Is it because I give them massages? No, no, and no. But I had the answer to the question of if my dogs know how much I love them all along.
They didn’t always know. Because I had not opened up my heart completely. Dogs know all, no matter how much we try to keep from them. They are not only our companions, but our family. And it wasn’t until the day I let myself love them with all of the love that I had, and did not hold anything back, that they knew. Now. They. Know.
Dogs don’t expect anything out of us that they don’t give. And they love US with their full heart. And so, on those days when you are looking at your dog and are wondering if he or she truly knows how much you love them…ask yourself if you truly know. Don’t let any more time slip away with ones that we love without them knowing what is in our heart. Saying “I love you” is wonderful. Saying “I love you” with a complete and full heart is beyond measure. Our dogs deserve that. Only then…will they know.
This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. I have been in this Florida place again for quite a long time. Probably, I feel like we have been sitting here at this campground for about ten years now. Although the persons say that it hasn’t been that long. It’s been nice to relax and regroup and see where this journey of life leads us next. When we find out here in the next few weeks, we will let you know. You don’t rush a Sheriff, or you know what will happen. You. Are. Arrested. I am working on this…
Now. Back to business. Since I am pretty much a Florida dog, I know about the weather and our afternoon rain storms.
I know about the bugs. Except what in the actual world is this.
I also know that the scary lightening stuff will make your pants not so dry if you wear pants. It is a good thing that we don’t. And as Deputy Digby, Girl Person and I made our trek to the beach for our afternoon walk the other night, well, we forgot all we knew about this Florida place and the sky that we were looking at. Because we really, really, wanted to get to that beach.
Sometimes, you think to yourself…self. Do you really think that this is a good idea? Because it most probably is not. And yet, you get so caught up in routine and wanting to do what you wanna do that you can’t help yourself. And so, as we sat in the shelter for almost two hours, getting our imaginary pants scared off of us, Girl Person told us that this was another lesson learned in life. I just was too scared to listen at the time to yet another lesson. Also, I was tired. I wanted to get back to the RV. And yet, as we ran for our lives through the flooded campground, and finally got inside, I was sad. Sad that I didn’t get to see my beach. Sad that I didn’t get to stay out there as long as I wanted to. Sad that no one got to look at my beach body on a weekday. And I really couldn’t stop thinking about it. All thru the night. Nothing else mattered. Even Digby was depressed because I was depressed.
As I tried to sleep the night away with one eye open as usual, I thought about what Girl Person had said…that there was a lesson in here for us. I wanted to think about this for myself, without letting her know. All she had told me was a quote. She loves those quotes.
“It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.” – Amelia Barr
And because I had so much time not being at the beach and all, I realized it. If we had been truly happy that day when the storm came, it would not have made us so sad. If we had found our joy before the storm, we could have appreciated the storm itself. Why were we putting so much weight on one thing in our day, and ignoring all of the pretty cool things that were also there to be noticed. Like that crazy bug.
It has been kind of like the storm here for us in the Florida place. Looking for a house, getting a bit down and not traveling as much caused us to lose a little joy. But in actuality, it was our fault. We should have been channeling our inner Click Beetle and when we landed on our back, or in a storm, we got right back up! The whole thing clicked for me. The storm was a lesson. And Girl Person didn’t even need to explain it to me. This night wasn’t so bad after all.
So the next time a storm in your life comes up, be determined to face it. But you have to work on yourself and your attitude first…before it arrives. And if you can’t wear pants when you are running thru the rain, so be it.