Pawcast Podcast #18 West Virginia

West Virginia tried to rain on our parade, but killer trash can lids and bluegrass was just the beginning.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Homeward Bound West Virginia Animal Rescue

“Stop Hounding Me” Episode For West Virginia

West Virginia Apple Cobbler For Dogs Recipe

Chestnut Ridge Park in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia

Are You Waiting For A Last Day With Your Dog?

This was a week like many others for us…super busy. As we made preparations to head back on the road Monday, and tried to finish work assignments, TV appearances, and tied up loose ends, I seemed to really lose focus.  I lost track of time.  Sunday became Tuesday which became Thursday, Friday.  I was losing a day here or there.  I felt myself being caught up in a life that I used to have…no time, no sense of what was important.  I was headed down that road again, and it wasn’t the open road.  It was the road of putting my thoughts and heart on things that were less important than my dogs.  And if you know me by now…there is nothing more important than my family.  And yet, I started to remember and to sympathize with where many of our fans and friends are.  In the cycle of life that makes us believe we don’t have time to enjoy it.  Because yeah…maybe we don’t.  And that’s a dern shame.

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I am not one to judge, or to say that one person loves their dog more than another by how much time they spend with them.  The fact is, we all have different circumstances and obligations.  But being immersed in “everything dog”, I often see the posts and the videos of dog parents giving their dogs “last days” when they become seriously ill. You may have watched them too.  The videos of dogs being taken to the dog park, or the beach, or given one last favorite meal.  And although this is heartwarming, I began to wonder.  Why were so many waiting? Waiting to treat their dogs how they wanted to all along? Waiting until it was time to say goodbye to give them their favorite foods.  And so I had an idea I asked a question on our Fan Group Page.  What is your dog’s favorite meal?  The responses were great.  Pizza, bbq, eggs, carrots, rice, chicken, lasagna…and we loved the “whatever I’m having”.  It was apparent that our fans really knew their dogs.

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My next question was “would you wait until your dog’s last day to give them this meal that they love…or can you give it to them TODAY? So many times, we know people wait to give their dogs real food and their favorite meal until time is short. We shouldn’t wait!”.

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My point of this was to make our fans think.  If their dogs were important to them, truly important, we aren’t saying to give them foods they shouldn’t eat.  But can we make their day just a little, well, special?  If we do that, how will it improve the relationship that we have with our dogs?  If we take the time to make their food, give them an extra long walk or to treat them the way they deserve to be treated, it will take some extra time, extra effort and extra thought.  But in the process, can we improve our own outlook on life, our priorities and our life’s direction?  Oh, our dogs can do so much for us.  Making us refocus, regroup and see the path we are on is just one of the ways dogs change our lives.  Life is not made up of one last good day for us…and it shouldn’t be for our dogs.  How can you get back on the path to your family who loves you unconditionally?  Put them first.  As one famous lady said…and we should add…”our dogs”.

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The dog beach, the dog park, and that hike that you were waiting to take with your dog when you had the time is now.  The time to put away your phone is now.  Don’t wait until a last day.  Because you may never have that opportunity.

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

Catch our daily dog blog at www.2travelingdogs.com

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In A Blaze Of Glory

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  Well, the time is almost here for us to pull out of the driveway on Monday.  And as we start packing ourselves up, and Memaw Macaw packs her whole life up too, I can only sit out here in my dirt hole and think about the past month, and the persons are thinking about the past years on this land.  In this dirt.  And it is time.  Time for reflection.  And a pancake.

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We didn’t know when we got here that Memaw Macaw would sell her house so fast.  The house that she grew up in.  The house that Boy Person’s grandparents lived in.  The land that Boy Person’s house was on, and then gone from.  The land with memories, bottlebrush trees, palm trees, gopher turtles and frogs.

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This was the driveway that Boy Person thew his football down, and caught the school bus.  The driveway that Girl Person would drive down to visit him when they were kid persons.  And the land with all of his family’s memories…his brother, his sisters, his old dog named Digby before me.  The dirt with his family’s farm produce and grapefruit trees.  Where Boy Person’s grandma would sell tomatoes by the road.  And the place where all of the things that once lived here too were being packed away.  Like Boy Person’s old guitar.  Like Boy Person’s old truck.  Like all of the memories.

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When the time comes to leave a place that you never think that you will leave, it is not easy.  In fact, just the thought of leaving this dirt hole is hurting my pancake heart.

So for Memaw Macaw, I can only think of what she is leaving too.  She has a really big dirt hole here.  As I get older, and a little slower, and a lot cuter, I see that persons have a hard time of passing days on a calendar too.  They can’t do as much as they used to.  They can’t do as much as maybe they want to. I remember that with Granny Person, and I see a little of that with Memaw Macaw.  But as I can still enjoy life, so can Memaw Macaw.  In fact, we can both enjoy life a lot.  She can also talk a lot, but that’s a story for another day when you have the time.  And no one has that much time.

But I got to thinking in my dirt hole. Maybe this moving on thing wasn’t such a bad thing right now.  Maybe it was time.  Maybe leaving when you don’t have to is what is best.  Maybe instead of driving away crying, driving away with the windows rolled down and breathing in the memories as you want to, instead of chasing them away is the best thing of all.

🎤🎼 A Thursday #DrivingWithDigby. #blazeofglory @bonjovi

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So many times, persons try to hold on to things that aren’t best for them.  A big yard with a leaking roof wasn’t the best for Memaw Macaw.  Maybe another place with family and those that have all day to listen to her besides Lele will be fun.  I know Lele will appreciate that.

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And maybe Tommy Cat wants a new place to be himself.  Roaming without lots of traffic and dangers.

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Leaving somewhere when you have a choice seems easy, I know.  But making those decisions for the persons is often the hardest part…not the packing, not the driving, not the moving.  But leaving when the going is good makes the new beginning more enjoyable.  And when the persons can finally realize that the land or even the house that they are leaving is not where the memories are kept, that is when I think that it can be an adventure.  A chance to even leave the memories behind you don’t want to think about.  That choice is theirs.  Leaving in a blaze of glory is better than leaving when you have no choice.  You can turn around and bid goodbye and tell yourself that you are worth more than where you had your beginning.  Life has just begun.

Our worth isn’t dependent on one place, or one memory I have come to see.  If I dwelled on how my life began, what could I have done with the rest of it?  Not one thing defines us. Not one house is who we are.  Find your worth not only in memories, but find your worth in moving on if you should.  And when you can.

We pull out of here on Monday and feel our adventures are just beginning to! Join us as we head back to Amelia Island, Florida for a little beach therapy and new explorations! Are you coming? Memaw Macaw will be headed to her new beginnings too in a blaze of glory. And we are proud.  Proud as a pancake. And that’s real. Proud.

-Deputy Digby Pancake

If you missed Girl Person on Daytime NBC this week, she cooked up some Pawsta Salad For Dogs!  Get the full recipe at www.yourdogsdiner.com

Once Upon A Time

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  Let me tell you a story.  I am handsome.  The end.

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I figure that you probably came here to read more, so as usual, I will elaborate, although there really is no book better to read than the story of my handsome.  But Girl Person says that probably, persons have books of their own all around them.  They just aren’t bothering to pick them up.  And we want you to know that you should.

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Some persons may say that their life is no fairy tale.  They say that the good outweighs the bad.  But I have to wonder.  Do they really see the book that is written every day, all around them? Because the part they play in it is important…but guess what?  You aren’t the most important character in it.

You see, yesterday, as we were hiking through the woods, we took a few moments to really see what was around us.  Or who…

We have gotten to know these characters pretty well the past month or so as we have been parked here at Memaw Macaw’s house.  And we know what part they play in the book.  The alligators, the snakes, the squirrels.  The  mosquitos, the wasps who bit Boy Person yesterday, the hawks.  Then you have the ospreys, the seahawks and the trees.  They all have their own agenda.  Every. Single. Day.  You see, they go to work too.  They have things to do. And you may be speeding by, not even knowing that they are there.

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It’s a shame, too. Once upon a time, we missed seeing them.  For many, many years.  There were stories all around us every day.

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And yet, we felt like we were too important and too busy to take notice.  It was better than any movie we could watch, it was better than any tv show that was on.  Because this fairy tale was actually real, with real characters.  And yet, some persons don’t see them that way.  Some persons want to pretend that all animals are the same, that they don’t really have their own personalities. And that makes them matter less to them.  And what I say to that is you are pretending.  Pretending so that you don’t have to understand.  It’s kind of like when Deputy Digby sees an empty plate.  He wants to ignore the obvious.

Life isn’t a fairy tale…or is it?  In my humble opinion which is not so humble, we seem to write a book everyday that IS not real.  The things that distract us, that take our time away from the real characters around us is the problem.  We can’t get away from all the bad in the world, that is true. But choosing to concentrate on the good is like a preface to the novel that you can start reading today.  Once upon a time, when you were young, you recognized the good days.  The good things in your day.  Try to remember.

Even if you think you had an ordinary day, we hope it was wonderful. #2travelingdogs

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If you choose to ignore the characters like the alligator, he may bite ya.  Don’t let the bad news or the bad people bite you.  Pick up that book…the one that is happening around you today and actually read it.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

P.S. We have a special tribute tomorrow to Boy Person’s home which we will be leaving on Monday. For good.  Stay tuned.

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Gophy The Gopher Turtle And The Dirt Hole

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  They don’t call me Digby for nothin’.  And they don’t call me pancake for nothin’.  But for once, I will be focusing today on the digging part of my name.  You may wonder why I always look so happy.  Except for the fact that I am so happy. I dig everything, y’all.  I dig it. And the deeper I dig, the happier I am.

I have learned a lot from my brother, Sheriff Brickle on the secret of happiness when it comes to your own dirt hole and the digging of it.  I have watched him for the last month here at Memaw Macaw’s house dig his hole.  Deeper.  And deeper.  And deeper than that.

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And usually, I would be too lazy to dig my own hole.  But in fact, I just had to do it after a breakfast of eggies and pancakes.  And I picked yesterday to do it.  And once I started, I couldn’t stop.  I dug so deep that my hole had its own zip code.

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I dug so deep that I was quite proud of myself. And although I know that we are only here until Monday, and then we are back on the road again, I thought it was only appropriate that I put up a no trespassing sign.  Because someone was trying to steal my dirt hole.

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Gophy. Gophy the Gopher Turtle.

I knew his plan as soon as I saw him. There he was, being a gopher turtle on a Tuesday.

He was trying to act like he didn’t see my dirt hole, which I had worked so hard to dig.  He was acting like he was heading out in the depths of the old farm field and that he wasn’t eyeing my dirt hole with his turtle eyeballs. He was acting like he had a better hole than I had.  But I wasn’t falling for it.  I haven’t traveled across this country five times to have my dirt hole stolen the day after I dug it. I have been to rivers deep.  Mountains high. And this dirt hole was mine.

The Sheriff was watching the situation.  And he was on it.  On it like butter on a biscuit.  On it like mayonnaise on a mayonnaise sandwich.  On it like barking at a UPS truck. Whatever that means.  But it means business.

So as he put out his arrest warrant of daggers across the yard to Gophy, I saw Gophy investigate his options.  He could either steal my dirt hole, and who was I to argue with the teeth of a gopher, but I did not know if he had teeth, but I wasn’t taking the chance….or Gophy could turn around and head to his own tunnel, which I can only assume led to his house filled with turtle things.  Like chairs for turtles and a couch for a turtle, and a TV for a turtle. Maybe a refrigerator filled with cold lettuce on ice and a jug of swamp water.  I don’t even know where I get this stuff.

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Gophy the Gopher Turtle thought about it for a second more.  And after seeing the Sheriff arrest the UPS truck, he decided that his aspirations of adding on to his house would have to wait.  At least until next week.  And we all thought that was a very good idea.  This hole wasn’t big enough for the both of us, and even if it was, I am not a good sharer. in fact, the thought that we have to leave here on Monday from Memaw Macaw’s house is making us all a little slower. Almost like Gophy.  We are looking longer at the bottlebrush tree.  We are staring a little harder at the grapefruit trees.  Except for Brickle.  He only knows how to stare at himself.

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And as I watched Gophy the Gopher Turtle walk away, I wondered if it would be the last of our time together.  Would it be the last duel for the dirt hole?  And I knew it probably was.  Things come in and out of our lives as fast as the Sheriff’s moods.  It seems like we have been parked here forever, but in fact, it has been a month.  And in that month, we met Lele.  We met Tommy Cat.  We met the bottlebrush tree, the palm tree and Gophy.  And as we help pack up Memaw Macaw, we are packing away our own memories too.  But it’s time to move on.

For Gophy the Gopher Turtle, this is where his home will always be.  He doesn’t want to go anywhere else, and I suppose that must be a comforting thing.  For us, we are off to new holes on Monday.  But first, I plan to sit awhile.  In my dirt hole that will be someone else’s dirt hole soon.  Yes, Gophy.  You can have it.  I will sign over the papers. But not until Monday.  Until then, Girl Person says to learn from my dirt hole.  You see, if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. Sometimes, we become so distracted by the bad things in life.  We worry about money.  We worry about health.  We worry about what may come to be tomorrow.  We could be focused on the sadness of leaving and missing our family, but we choose to enjoy what is around us for a few more days.  Because these days will never be here again. How deep is the ocean? How blue is the sky? You have to look to find out.

Continuing to dig deeper doesn’t help anyone except maybe a gopher turtle named Gophy.  And he already has a hole.  So stay in yours and make it good.  Just don’t dig any deeper.

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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Don’t Feed The Alligators Or Sell Lawn Mowers Or Ladders

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  Do I look like I can sell ice cream to to a polar bear?  Do I look like I can sell a pie to a bakery that bakes pies?  You catch my drift and it smells good.  If my occupation was a salesman, I would rock and roll and rise straight to the top.  I would be on top of my game like maple syrup on a pancake. Like peanut butter on jelly.  Like brindle stripes on a catahoula.  That’s me.

But like any good salesperson, I know my clients.  I know who I am selling to. I have to know my territory.  And I have to respect when other salespersons have claimed an area.

Such was the case this past weekend.  You see, I knew my game plan for the day.  Since Memaw Macaw is moving, and she is packing and trying to get rid of stuff, she needs to sell some stuff.  And this is the last week that we are here with her. So I was surveying available places to sell her stuff to.  A good salesperson always does research.  But I knew right away that this neck of the woods was not a good territory for me.

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I also knew what items I had to sell that day.  That makes the difference to a salesperson to.  For instance, if someone knocked on my door trying to sell me handsome, that would be futile.  So.  What did I have to sell? On the agenda was a ladder.  A really tall ladder.  And a lawn mower.  And I thought about it.  Would a ladder be needed here?  Well, only to get out of the way of the alligators who actually were already in charge of selling here because they are in charge of everything here.  And in such a situation, they would more than likely eat the ladder.  So yeah.  Not a good selling point.  Not a good territory.

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And then the lawn mower.  Obviously, no one cared to mow the lawn here at this swamp and river.  I am all about innovation and introducing a product to the public when need be.  But the alligators in fact had this covered too.  They were their own mowers of sorts.  And so I left that territory with a new found goal.  I could do this. I could sell this ladder, which in fact Memaw Macaw had bought from another yard sale, which in fact makes no sense.  And I could sell this lawn mower.  Because.  Yeah. This is Florida and the grass grows as fast as Deputy Digby’s appetite.

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I thought about it on the way back to Memaw Macaw’s house. And I guess Boy Person had already read my mind.  Since the ladder and the mower were already here, why tote them around door to door? This was not 1988 and I wasn’t selling encyclopedias.  The only thing you ever need to look up is why I am so handsome, but they don’t make encyclopedias anymore so the answer will never be known.

Boy Person had read my mind.  He had put the ladder and the lawn mower by the road with a sign that didn’t say “no swimming” like those alligators had put up in their territory. No, but this sign was much more effective.  $20.

This was good thinking on Boy Person’s part.  Although it was just the beginning to this week of packing and getting rid of stuff, well, it was a good start. And the persons had high hopes that they would sell quickly. But as good as a salesperson as I wanted to be, the Sheriff part of me…the biggest part of me, well, it had other ideas.

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Because, you see, as much as I wanted to be the top salesperson in my category, I realized that I was the only salesperson in my category, and therefore, I would be at the top no matter what.  So when I realized this, I realized that even if I didn’t sell the ladder, and even if I didn’t sell the lawn mower, I would still be a success.  So I decided to do what I do best.  Sheriff it up.  And so every car that pulled up, I barked and growled and arrested them.  This went on all day.  This went on all evening.  And as Memaw Macaw came out to see if anyone had bought her goods, and realized that they had not, I could see the glimmer of approval in her eyes.  She didn’t want to get rid of anything after all.  And I had done her good, y’all.  Everyone. Is. Welcome.

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Sometimes, we may be our biggest critic.  We may think that we aren’t good enough.  That we aren’t at the top of our game.  But if we do our best, being at the top is guaranteed.  You don’t have to climb any ladders to be a success.  I may not win any awards for my selling numbers.  I may not be an employee of the month. But the alligators can do it their way.  And I will do it mine.  You do it your way too.  Make yourself proud.  That is who counts.

Also, by the way, I have a ladder and lawn mower for sale.  Bahahahahaha! Come and get it.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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A Matter Of Trust

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  I am always one to sing the Sheriff’s praises…because he tells me to.  I am also one to tell the Sheriff when his leadership abilities should be worked on.  Actually, I usually do that under my breath and he doesn’t hear me.  My very. Bad. Breath.  But this past weekend, well, not only was I singing the Sheriff’s praises, but I also wrote his probation report in the same hour.  I can multi-task, even when pancakes and maple syrup are not involved.  Trust me.

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Because I know about trust, y’all.  You can trust that the sun will come up every morning.  You can trust that the sky will be blue.  You can trust that I will have rolled in something I should have not each day.  You can trust I will always find unmentionable things to dig up and eat on the trails.  But you can also trust that I will always have a good day.  You can trust that I always like to drive, no matter what day of the week it is.

(Sound on) 🎼🎤 Sunday #drivingwithdigby thru the 🍓 fields

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But in my short nine years of being Deputy Digby Pancake, I myself can trust that I never know what the day will bring. I trust that at the end of the day, well, you have to be content when you can end it with the ones you love. No matter what happened during that day.  Even if Girl Person almost gets hurt and Sheriff Brickle almost gets hurt worse.

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And this Saturday, I appreciated that more than ever.  The day started off just fine, avoiding alligators and the such in this Florida place.  I will tell you more about that tomorrow, by the way.  My multi-task is being all used up at the moment. Trust me though.  I’ll get back to it.

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On Saturday, as Girl Person was briefing us on the next day’s activities, she realized that the car needed gas.  We were all really hot here in this Florida place.  Really.  Hot.  And even I could tell, after our long hike avoiding alligators, that Girl Person needed a nap or something.  She wasn’t even paying attention to the Scarey Blue Jean Man Person walking up behind her…around the gas pump.  She was trying to hurry the gas filling situation, watching the pump spin around like a Las Vegas slot machine.  I have been to Las Vegas.  I know.  I also know that she had just about a good of a chance at wining at the gas pump.  Trust me.

But as I watched the Scarey Blue Jean Man Person get closer and closer, I started to become worried myself.  What was he doing?  What did he want?  And when I get worried, that is a cause for concern.  The Sheriff was already on it, but the doors were locked, Girl Person was in her own world, and the Sheriff knew he had to do it.  He had to be the Sheriff.  Immediately.  Loudly.  Forcefully.

As the Scarey Blue Jean Man Person started to talk to Girl Person, I noticed he had no car.  He had no reason to talk to her.  And he had no reason to be afraid…until the Sheriff became the Sheriff.

As the Scarey Blue Jean Man Person got closer, Sheriff Brickle lunged at him, growled, barked.  He pulled everything out of his Sheriff hat that he had.  The Scarey Blue Jean Man Person I could tell, had not even known he was there until it was too late, and I can only imagine he was running to the bathroom as he was running away.

As you can imagine, Sheriff Brickle was proud of himself, and Girl Person was a little shook up.  And not in a good way either.

Girl Person didn’t wait to jump in the car, and as she sped away, she forgot the gas cap.  Now, in the big scheme of things, a gas cap is only a gas cap.  In fact, it doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the big scheme of things.  But persons need such things to keep cars running good to take me to IHop, so she texted Boy Person that he needed to go buy one on his way home from soccer.  It had been a long day.  It was still almost 90 degrees at 7 o’clock at night, and we were all tired.  At least I thought that we were all tired…

As Girl Person thanked Sheriff Brickle for about the millionth and fifth time for protecting her at the gas station and scaring away the Scarey Blue Jean Man Person, I saw a look in his eyes.  He was not punching out on the time clock yet.  He saw Tommy cat in the distance.

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And just as Girl Person was putting his leash on, he pushed her out of the way and jumped out of the car.  Literally. Nope. I didn’t do it this time.  Not me!

Now, if you know Girl Person, and you might know her a little, you know that in situations like this, she loses all decorum.  She loses all sense of loudness and civility.  She instead chooses to scream so loud that people on the other side of the world can hear her.  And in this particular scenario, I can’t say that I blamed her as I watched helplessly from inside.  You see, Memaw Macaw lives on a very busy road, with a lot of traffic and people driving too fast.  And Girl Person feared the worst.  She knew the worst was about to happen.  And all she could do was run and scream so loud that Memaw Macaw ran out of the house in her pajamas chasing Girl Person thru the backyard too. You see, Tommy cat had instead decided to run away from the road.  And this was the best thing that could have happened.  As he ran up the tree, the Sheriff hit a speed trap on his pursuit, and Girl Person was able to catch him.  Just. In. Time.

Girl Person grabbed the Sheriff like I grab a bite of pancakes off a fork.  If I used a fork. Which I don’t have time for.  But you get the idea.  She ushered him inside with Memaw Macaw asking every question she could think of in her pajamas which I might add was not an appropriate time of day for pajamas, but who am I to judge when in fact pancakes are breakfast, you eat breakfast in pajamas, and so maybe we should all wear them all day.  But anyway.  Girl Person lost her sense of not crazy again, started crying about gas caps and Scarey Blue Jean Man Monsters and cats up trees.  And I trusted that she may in fact be losing it.

I trusted my instincts on that one.  It had simply been a ruff day.  A hot, ruff day with scariness and drama.  Yet, Girl Person decided to stop.  She looked at me, she looked at Brickle.  She looked at herself.  And she called Boy Person who calmed her down, simply asked if everyone was ok, and then asked how many bottles of wine we had.

They say that all is well that ends well.  And it was that simple.  Our day may have been filled with things that we wanted to forget.  But we wouldn’t forget the lessons.  Girl Person learned that she had to be more aware of who and what was around her.  She also was reminded that our leashes were not to be taken off ever, unless we were safely inside. Sheriff Brickle learned that Tommy Cat is faster than him on any day, even with his sirens on.  Tommy Cat learned that he couldn’t meow at the Sheriff all day and cross his path and tease him anymore.  And we all learned that we can’t always control what happens in our day, but if we are safe and together at the end of it, that is all that matters.

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If there is one thing in this world that we trust, it is our love for each other. We would give our lives for each other, and in the span of an hour, that almost happened.  As Gandpa once said, “never think you got it licked”. You see, even though we have traveled across the country five times, and have been on adventures, too many to count, things can happen in an instant.  No matter where you are, or who you are.  Never think that something can’t happen to you.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed.  You can trust me on that one.

-Deputy Digby Pancake

P.S. Girl Person will be headed to the NBC studios on Tuesday to film a cooking segment for dogs that will air on Thursday.  Stay tuned for more information!

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Pawcast Podcast #17 Pennsylvania

Our travels thru the great state of Pennsylvania with Brickle and Digby were eventful…as always.  In this podcast we discuss cheesesteak, a small animal rescue that drove hours to meet us, and a bridge unlike no other.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Philly Cheesesteak For Dogs Recipe

Strayhaven Animal Shelter

“Stop Hounding Me” Episode For Pennsylvania

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What Your Dog Wants You To Know

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the privilege I have. I get to spend time with my dogs.  So. Much. Time. No, I did not always have this privilege.  I worked an outside full time job, I was busy with engagements, and nights out with friends.

When my husband and I quit our jobs, sold our home, and bought an RV to travel around the country doing animal rescue awareness, I was more excited about a certain aspect of our trip than all of the others…that I would get to spend all of my time with my dogs, my boys, Brickle and Digby.

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Sure, we were spending a lot of time together already before the trip, trying to make a success of a dog treat business.  And yes, we had some fun times in between filling and packing bags.  But this was going to be different.  Our focus was not just going to be visiting animal rescues and shelters.  We wanted to show others how to live a healthy and happy lifestyle with their dogs.  I would get to pretty much spend every waking moment with my dogs.  And I knew so many would love to do what we were doing. I had no idea how awesome it really was going to be.  But in a way that I never thought possible.

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I have always loved my dogs.  I loved them from the moment I saw them.  And I thought that they loved me too. Unconditionally…right? Right.  But the first thing that I realized, after about week two on this trip, was that I truly wasn’t loving them unconditionally.  In fact, I found that I was expecting a lot out of them.  I was expecting them to lose their individuality to fit into a mold of what a “good dog” should act like.  You know the good dogs…they don’t pull on leashes, or bark when they shouldn’t.  “Good dogs” don’t act protective around strangers, or growl or have bad days.  Yeah.  “Good dogs”?  I found I didn’t want “good dogs”.  I wanted happy dogs.  Fulfilled dogs.  Individuals.  But I sure wasn’t showing that.  Until I heard them.  I heard them one day loud and clear.  And once I heard that…I began to hear more.  When my expectations and demands fell away, I started to hear what my dogs wanted me to know.  Loud and clear.

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What Your Dog Wants You To Know

  1.  “I know about time”.  We have all heard that our dogs don’t view time the same way as we do.  While that may be true to a point, our dogs are very well aware when we are late, or when routines are thrown off.  Being on the road, we found that keeping some sort of a routine was KEY to their happiness.  What are we saying here?  Time spent away from your dogs is inevitable.  But making our dogs a priority, i.e, not taking that extra work assignment if we don’t have to, or rearranging our schedule to make sure that they are walked and fed on time IS important.  Don’t fool yourself that they won’t notice.  Would you notice if dinner was late?  Would you notice if your family member didn’t come home at the expected time? Would it stress you out?  Our dogs are no different.
  2.   “I know when you are angry.  I know when you are upset.  And it makes me upset.”  For us, traveling full time had a lot of ups.  And it had so many downs.  From days spent broken down on the road, to fights between ourselves about trivial matters, there were some days we wanted to cry and give up.  But the days that I did cry, raise my voice, or have a panic attack were the worst on my dogs.  Brickle would get sick if I got sick.  He would cry if I cried.  He held every emotion I had.  But even when I tried to hide it, he knew.  So I had to take a hard look at myself and think about how I was affecting my dogs.  Stress couldn’t be avoided, but I could choose how I handled it.  And when I chose to do that, to rationally explain to them what was happening and that we would get through it, I had their support. Not with distress, but with thankfulness that I had taken the time and valued their emotional well being.
  3.  “I have likes and dislikes.  I am not the same as all other dogs.”  This was probably the loudest thing I heard my dogs say on this trip.  Sure, I knew that they each had their favorite foods and treats.  I knew that.  But I had NO idea how different my boys were.  Why?  I suppose that honestly, I didn’t truly see that they were individuals.  You wouldn’t look at human kids and think that they all were robotic and the same.  Why in the world do we do this with our dogs?  I heard my dogs say this loud and clear one day when Brickle was gazing at the ocean with a sort of calm reflection and appreciation, and Digby was pulling away from it like it was a horror movie.  I heard my dogs say this loud and clear when Brickle heroically walked across a bridge in Pennsylvania and Digby wanted to jump off it it.  You see, dogs ARE individuals.  I believe that people may not want to hear this.  If we truly see them as individuals, it gets harder to treat them as such and not be selfish with our time, with our resources.  But they are.  Listen.  See them.
  4.  “I. Am. A. Dog.”  Some may read this and think…huh?  Of course a dog is a dog.  A person is a person.  So why are we expecting our dogs to act like a person?  We have put dogs into our world.  And I am not naive to think that if my dogs truly had a choice, that they would choose to travel the country in an RV visiting shelters.  Maybe they would.  Maybe they wouldn’t.  The fact is, we place them in our world with no choices.  Most of the time, constraints are safety, i.e, leashes and fences.  But your dog wants you to know that sometimes, these constraints are irritating and unnatural.  And some days, they just want to be a dog, and to run and to explore.  It is up to us to give them a way to fulfill these needs.  Yes. Whether we are tired or had a bad day.  They depend on us.  Because they have no choice but to.
  5.  “I love you. I really do.”  I will be the first to say that I have wondered this.  Do our dogs love us for us, or do they love us for what we do for them?  If you take one moment today, to look into your dog’s eyes during a quiet time of day, you will find your answer.  You will hear your answer.  It matters to your dog that you rescued him.  He remembers.  It matters to your dog that you spend time with him.  It matters that you care to talk to him.  And to listen.
  6.  “Sometimes, I would like to have choices.”  Until I recognized my dogs as true individuals with true feelings, likes and dislikes, I never thought that they may want to be offered a choice now and then.  Imagine always being told what to do with no choices. Of course, it is up to us to keep them safe as mentioned earlier.  But have you ever been walking your dog and maybe they want to go another way?    For my dogs, we go on so many hikes that they seem to pick their favorites.  And I love that.  On trails that have different ways to go, I often stop and ask them which way they want to go.  You guessed it.  Two dogs, two opinions, two different choices!  But I let them work it out among themselves, and then, we start down on the path they chose.  Why do this?  Choices build confidence.  Confidence is vital for a dog, just like for people.  When we started letting them make choices, we saw their happiness build!

You see, being on this trip the past two years has taught me so much.  But my dogs taught me more.  I know that others don’t, and possibly will never have this privilege that we have had of traveling and being with our dogs every day.  But if you stop…today…and take note of what Brickle and Digby wanted me to hear, possibly, you will hear what your dog wants you to know too.  Don’t wait to hear your dog until tomorrow.  We may not have that privilege either.

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When you stop and take the time to hear your dog, you may not like everything you do hear.  And that’s ok.  We have all made mistakes, we all have room to grow, and to improve.  Above all else, what your dog wants you to know is that time is short. Make the most of it and spend that time together.  You will never regret it, no matter what paths you have to take to get there.  You don’t have to travel across the country five times like we did.  Your dog can tell you all of this in your own backyard.

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

Follow our daily dog blog written through the eyes of rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake

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You Can Do Magic

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. If pancakes grew on trees, well, it would explain Deputy Digby’s love of hiking.

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However, because we still have not found that coveted pancake tree, or trees, that we have been searching high and low years for, dog treats from the Park Ranger will have to do before every hike here in this Tampa, Florida place.  And it seems as though…sometimes…they appear.  By magic.

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire

It all started when we came to park in the exotic location here of Memaw Macaw’s house.  Since she lives on a busy road, Girl Person has to drive us to a park everyday to hike and even go for walks.  And every day, when the nice Park Ranger is there, not only does she say hello, but every time, she gives me and the Deputy a treat. It is like our own drive thru.  We really like this Park Ranger. I have grown quite fond of her.

I couldn’t believe it, you took my heart
I couldn’t retrieve it, said to myself
What’s it all about
Now I know there can be no doubt

However, I noticed something.  And I am always one to notice something.  When the very nice Park Ranger was there with all of the treats, the bones were delish.  Just the right temperature and size.  But when she wasn’t there? When a non-dog-loving Park Ranger was on duty?  Somehow, the treats started to taste just like the ones we had at home.  Or in Girl Person’s backpack.

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay

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At first, I was quite irritated that the non-dog-loving Park Ranger did not hand Girl Person any treats to give to us.  My drooling out of the car window did not even give him the hint.  In fact, every night when we pulled up, he would tell Girl Person that he didn’t need to see her park pass because we were there every night anyway.  If I could arrest on attitude, with a piercing look of handsome through that Park Ranger window, I would have. But I didn’t want to spoil my chances of the drive thru gold. Sometimes a Sheriff has to pick his battles.  At first, when he shut the window without giving us any treats, I was devastated.  And the worst part? Seeing Deputy Digby’s look of disappointment that a hike was not going to produce even a morsel of cheap dog biscuits. And definitely not the pancake tree.

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But then.  Like magic, I knew what had just happened.  The non-dog-loving Park Ranger was in fact doing a magic trick!  All of a sudden, Girl Person would say, “look what he gave you, boys!”.  And in her hand were…like magic…dog biscuits.

Now, I said it before and I will say it again.  They looked suspiciously like the ones we had at home. You know..the organic kind.  And they smelled the same too. But who was I to complain?  I did anyway.  And I wondered.  When in the world would the pretty Park Ranger person be back? As Girl Person always does, by magic, she reads my mind.  She told me that on Wednesday thru Sunday she would be there.  I had to get tickets to this magic show.  I liked hers better.

The nice Park Ranger may not have had any tricks up her sleeve, but she sure did know her stuff.

I never believed in things that I couldn’t see
I said if I can’t feel it then how can it be
No, no magic could happen to me
And then I saw you

She knew that the best magic in anyone’s day was to be nice.  And kind.  And to smile.  I don’t do any of those things, but my handsome is like magic.  It makes up for it.  But as Girl Person says, if  we aren’t kind though, to others around us, fancy don’t matter.  Nothing else matters.  Not even the magic dog treats that appear in Girl Person’s hand after the window shuts.

I would say that the best part of our day may not even be the dog treats from the nice Park Ranger.  It may be the fact that she likes us, she wants to see us.  And that is like…magic.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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