When Someone Asks Me, “Is Your Dog Friendly?”

Perhaps I should be used to the question by now. “Is your dog friendly?”. And, well.. I am not.

It was like any other, ordinary, gorgeous day. The perfect day actually, for taking Brickle and Digby to the dog park. Since we have been on the road for so long now, any chance that we get to let them off leash is priceless. And this dog park was great! Big, fully fenced for my escaper foxhound Digby, and it had grass. Grass! So I was probably just as excited as the dogs were.

I was even excited to see that there were other dogs playing at the park. Perfect! There is nothing worse than an empty dog park. But as we approached the field nearer to the park, that is when I heard the murmurs, the whispering. You see, I have heard these kind of hushed conversations before. What amazes me every time is that people don’t think I can hear them.

“Oh, look at that one dog.” “Yeah, he looks like he could be maybe a pit or something. The other dog looks fine though.”

Now. You may not know me personally. We may have never spoke. But if you see me with my dogs for five minutes, you will know that they are my world. Both of them.

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And when someone insults my dog for no reason other an appearance, I will tell you this. I will try to change your outlook so that other dog parents do not have to, in a less than rude way. I will not insult you like you have insulted my dog. I will not yell at you like I think that you deserve. Because the way I will change your mind is by you meeting Brickle. And even though he won’t speak to you directly, what he will say will speak volumes. Oh, and Digby will be adding to the education process as well in a way that only Digby can.

I was ready. As we neared the gate, the one woman was apparently speaking for the group, as maybe she had done many times before.

“Is your dog friendly?”

To which I replied, “Well, that depends. Which one as are you asking about?”.

You see, Brickle, with his brindle coloring was overlooked for six months at the shelter. People were “put off” by his coloring, his demeanor. His demeanor? Perfection in my opinion. In the words of his vet, “zen”, an “old soul”.

🎼Don't worry, be happy. #putasmileonyourface

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Brickle is calm, observant, and therefore has earned the title of Sheriff. Because he is not over reactive like Digby, combined with his beautiful coat of brindle, he is often mistaken for mean or scary.

When I asked her this question, she obviously felt embarrassed, like I had pointed out her prejudice toward his appearance. So, she just said hesitatingly…”Oh, both of them”. To which I said, “Well, today, they probably will be friendly. Probably more friendly than me”.

I took them both in the gate, Brickle with his little tail wag, and Digby with his howling at the top of his lungs as all good hound dogs do. They ran over to their dogs, waiting for apparently Brickle to attack them, and as he sniffed them hello and walked on by to take his perch on the nearest hill to watch the action, they remarked how calm he was, remarking he must be old, like it only had to do with his age. That apparently he was a killer in his younger years, but now, because he was old, well, he was ok.

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Now, I am all for conversation at the dog park. I know that drill too. “What kind of dog is that? How old is your dog?”. I enjoy talking about my dogs. And when these dog park murmurers had calmed down, truth be told, it was my enjoyment to show them that their judgment in appearance was unwarranted. Their judgement against my dog, who had had a rough start because of judging in the first place, was my heart dog, my soulmate. And I would tell them ALL about him. And they would listen.

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I told them, as I pulled Digby off from one of their dogs, as he thought it was Hump-Day, that they were both rescues. I told them their full stories, even as they remarked how they had bought their dogs from breeders and had taught them obedience by shock collars. Now, if you know me at all, and even if you don’t, I take it you can guess that I was steaming inside. But I know, and I always will believe, that kindness, providing an example and education by love will change people. And even in this situation, I spoke with love. I gave examples of many of the 48 rescues we visited this past year, breed specific rescues, and training techniques. All with Brickle sitting on his perch at the dog park enjoying his day.

Would it have affected my dogs if I would have got in a heated argument, a shouting match? Would it have affected the other dogs at the park too? Yes! Yes, it would have. And if we are to change the plight of many homeless animals across the country, and across the world, how we approach that task will be the most important one. I know breeders. Some breeders are my friends. Would I yell at them to get my message across? I would not. Because I hope, one day, that what we have done, visiting 48 states and 48 rescues to show the wonderful things animal rescuers are doing across the country will change their minds. Me yelling at them will not. And even if the results don’t happen overnight, I am willing to keep working. But the truth is, more than anything I could ever say or do, Brickle and Digby say more just by example than I ever could. They have saved more lives than I ever could.

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So the next time someone asks me, “Is your dog friendly?”, I will be mad inside. I will be angry. But for the millions of dogs who are judged by appearance, I will speak for them. Actually, Brickle will. So let your dog speak too, and speak up for the millions that are counting on YOU.  Maybe one day, dogs, all animals, and yes, even people will not be judged on appearance.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person, 2 Traveling Dogs

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The Bear Necessities And Turkeys

This is Deputy Digby Pancake. And some may call me a foxhound. Some may call me a turkey hound. At least I do. We have turkeys camping with us, and they area bit, well, infuriating! They gobble, gobble all morning, interrupting Brickle’s beauty sleep which interrupts the rest of eveyrone’s day. They parade around, and the boy turkey acts like he is more beautiful than Brickle, which irritates him even more. I am bound and determined to give these turkeys a piece of my mind. But as usual, Girl Person won’t let me talk to the turkeys. She says the only turkey we can talk to around here is Boy Person. Bahaha! I didn’t say it. She did.

Why did the turkey cross the road? #wouldreallylikeananswer #talkinturkeys

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With all of the turkeys around here, you would think that they owned the place. But Girl Person says that noise we heard in the woods last night very well could have been a bear. A bear! You heard me folks. We not only have turkeys to deal with during the day, but bears to be afraid of at night, which is interrupting Brickle’s beauty sleep then too. He says all sleep is for beauty, because he even has to work while he is sleeping.

Lately, every morning that we wake up, we have to stop and think for a minute. Where in the world are we?

Another day of where in the world are we? #whereswaldo #imean2travelingdogs #takeaguess

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Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn’t be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin’ in the trees
To make some honey just for me

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When you wake up every day not knowing where in the world you may be, you ask yourself. Self? How much do we really need in life to get by? What are the necessities? We certainly don’t have much to our names right now. And it is easy to feel down about it. Why? Everyone is always about being “extra”. But what can the turkeys teach us and what can the bears teach us? That you really don’t need much in life to get by to be truly happy.

Looking for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

Why persons try to get more and more stuff to be happy, I will never understand.

If you had to carry around all of your stuff that you thought was so important today, how would you feel at the end of the day? Wouldn’t it have been easier to be free, to be able to concentrate on the good things around you, even like the turkeys walking around just looking for food? Would you have noticed them if you had been carrying around your big television or your fancy jewelry?

Sure, we all need stuff in life to get by, but if there is one thing that this never ending Adventure Of A Lifetime has taught us, is that life is made up of a few kinds of people. People that want more stuff and work their hardest to get it. People that don’t want any stuff at all and prefer to enjoy life at it most simple forms. And those that think they want a bunch of stuff at the beginning, realize it didn’t make them happy, and get rid of all the stuff.

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For us, it isn’t that we are looking for the perfect house, or the biggest house. We are looking for the simplest house, one that will allow us to concentrate on animal rescue, enjoying life and each other, and getting rid of some of our worries. So if you are on that path with us, you will understand that the simplest house hasn’t been the easiest to find, which is ironic. But seeing the bears and the turkeys reminded us that it can be done. We would never have met them if not for this trip. Sounds simple, but true.  We have a feeling that they are going to be talking to us a lot this weekend. Nature always has the answers.

Wherever I wander, whenever I roam
I couldn’t be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin’ in the trees
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take glance at the fancy ants
And maybe try a few, haha, try one

This weekend, we have to rest because the persons are feeling a bit wore out from all of our driving this week. They said before we hit the road on Sunday again, we are going to kick back, eat good food, sleep good sleep and they will drink good wine. So keep following our Facebook page this weekend to see what we are up to in Arroyo Grande, California!

And if you are looking for a way to find what necessities you truly need, you are already on the right path.  We are right along with you.

The bare necessities of life
They’ll come to you
They have come to you

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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Homeward Bound

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. It has been said that home is where the heart is. I say home is where the peanut butter cookie is. And in my case…where the cookies are. I know proper grammar. Puleeze.

It is no secret, and it goes without saying, because we have said it a million times now.  We are looking for home.  Is it that Florida place? Will there be a home there?  Will this California place call us back yet again?  We still have hopes.  But, as you know, we trek ever forward to Florida.

And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories
And every stranger’s face I see reminds me that I long to be,
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound

This is our path now, as we exhausted all possibilities in our heart’s place of California. For now, this is all we know to do.  Somehow, you have to keep moving forward to get anywhere.  For us, we are moving toward home.  Wherever that may be.

Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound

In order to get our minds and our hearts on this continuing journey of ours, we are preparing for our home.  We want it so bad we can taste it.  As much as Deputy Digby wants those scrambled eggs for breakfast.  And pancakes.  I threw you off there, didn’t I?

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When your heart isn’t in something all the way, but you know that it is best for you, you kinda have to guide your heart along a little bit.  So as we have dreams of our home to be, we are getting our hearts into it.  We started out with our little sequoia tree this week.

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We plan to plant it at our new house.  We are sowing those seeds, feeling the love.  So we planted it for now in a coffee pot that Girl Person found abandoned in a camp in Arizona this year.  She knew it would come in handy!  Or pawdy!  She let the raven we bought in Bodega Bay guard it for now.

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She comes in at night, don’t worry.  It is our baby.  We named it Brigitte and I don’t know why at all.

As the persons were planting our baby tree, Girl Person remarked that she wished they had a bird feeder.  You see, the woodpecker from this week that got hurt here at camp and got better touched our hearts.

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So whatever touches our hearts, well, we are bringing it home with us. No, not the bird, it deserves to fly! But as Boy Person went to go get some groceries, he found a bird feeder on the side of the road!  As good as new!  Coincidence?  I think not. So he brought it back to camp and he made a bird feeder and a water dish out of the coffee pot lid and voila’!  Something else to bring home with us!  Brigitte approved.

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Isn’t this home place going to be great when we find it?

Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

We know that our perfect place is out there.  Now, all we need to do is focus.  Focus on finding it. Because now we have a tree to plant and birds to feed.  This is important on my agenda.  And Brigitte deserves that too.

So, as we make our way home, whoever that may be, our hearts will be in it.

And every stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

It seems like we have made this trip before, and I guess we have.  It seems like we have been on an endless search to be happy and content for years.  But we are tired now. And it is time.  Let’s do this!  We need a place for all of this love to fit in, and a yard big enough for Brigitte Barkdot.  Yes, she has a last name.  And I heard she is going to get pretty large.  Time is of the essence here.  I don’t think she is going to last very long in this RV.  Let’s do this!

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-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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The Big Rock Candy Mountain

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. And some days, you just have to wake up and see that today is going to be a sweet, sweet day. First of all, because you get to see my face. Second of all, because life is good. If you taste it.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There’s a land that’s fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.

If we have a problem, and all of us have many, especially me as Sheriff, well, it may be a bit hard to remember that out there is your big rock candy mountain. What would it be like at your mountain?

For me, I think that the rivers would be flowing with smooth peanut butter with no salt of course, because I am salty enough. Plus, there would be nothing but sunshiney and a shade tree, just so that I could rotate my tan lines.

🎼Don't worry, be happy. #putasmileonyourface

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There would be a big, plush bed for me to lay on under that shade tree, along with a cabinet for my badges, awards, arrest records and extra snacks. I would only have the key and it would be stocked every day by Girl Person who would smile and laugh and never have that Depression Monster following her.

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Digby says that his mountain would yeah, be made out of soft pancakes so that when you wanted to climb it, your paws and feet could sink into it so that you couldn’t fall. And then when you reached the top, there would be buffets as far as the eyes could see with every kind of pancake you could imagine and every kind of maple syrup that you could imagine.

And you would eat until you were full so that you wouldn’t eat the pancake mountain and be able to get down. That would be very important. Then, Digby says he would take a nap under his pancake tree, and that he would water it every day and it would grown more pancakes.

There ain’t no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I’m bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains …

Plus, he would have plenty of chickens around to lay him all the eggies he could ever want.  Already cooked perfectly.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs

Digby also says that everytime he gets arrested, at his big rock candy mountain, he could get right out again.  To get arrested again.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin.
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in.

So what would be Girl Person’s big rock candy mountain?  I suspect it would be full of many rescue animals, all happy and roaming free as they live with no chance of ever getting hurt or lost.  Everyone would be loved and well fed.  There would be all kinds of vegetarian dishes growing for her like lasagna and spaghetti and pizza and yeah, her river would be flowing with Sonoma County wine as far as the eyes could see.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks

But the question is.  What would be at your big rock candy mountain?

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Although it is fun to imagine what we would love to live like if the world was perfect, we have the opportunity to all make our own big rock candy mountain, every single day.  We can each go to it when we are feeling sad in our minds, and imagine that sunshiney, warm on our heads, and the water cool on our feet and paws.  If there is a big rock candy mountain that you have always wanted to go to, how can you make it happen? Where is your map?  How will you get there?

I’m headed for a land that’s far away
Beside the crystal fountains
So come with me, we’ll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains.

Life is too short to wait around and wish for your mountain to come to you.  Because mountains my friends, well, they don’t move.  We have to find them.  And they are out there, even on our darkest days.  Even on days we think that the rain will never stop.

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We have to keep moving, keep going to find the mountains.  It is worth the effort, worth the struggle, and you are worth it too.  I know I am.  But that is as obvious as my brindle beauty. Which looks perfect at my big rock candy mountain, by the way.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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Sowing The Seeds

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  Sometimes you have to hunt for the truth.  Sometimes you have to plant the truth.  Sometimes you have to dig up the truth.

Why is my name Digby? #takeaguess

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Time to eat all your words
Swallow your pride
Open your eyes

If there was ever a time that we needed to get lost in the forest, well, it is now.  The persons’ thoughts are overwhelming them.  And getting back on the road is proving to be a bit, well, hard.  The journey back to that Florida place seems so long.  Why is it so far away from this California place?  No one seems to have the answer to this question.  Not even Sheriff Brickle.

So yesterday, we headed to a place called Sequoia National Park.

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When you go into forest, and really are still, if only for a moment, it has a way of bringing you down to earth.  It has a way of humbling you.  The trees are there to listen, and they do that at first.  But then, they speak to you as you listen to them. 

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As we stood underneath the largest trees in the world, which we had heard about all of our lives, they were even more special than we could have imagined. Their bark is sometimes three feet thick which is way thicker than even my bark.  And that is thick.

But even more impressive than their size and their beauty is their talent of calming wisdom that tells you all you need to hear.

Sowing the seeds of love, sowing the seeds
Sowing the seeds of love

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For each one of us, what we need to hear is different.  For Sheriff Brickle, he needs to hear he is handsome. For me, I just need to hear the time dinner will be served.  But for the persons, they needed to hear that everything would be ok for us in the end when we went to the forest yesterday.  You see, they feel like they have planted seeds all over the place, and nothing has grown.  They feel like maybe it is time to stop planting anything at all.  They are tired.

Open hearts, feel about it
Open minds, think about it
Everyone, read about it
Everyone, scream about it

But as we stood underneath the trees, they heard it.  Because they were listening.

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Their problems were quite small.  These trees had heard many problems of the thousands of years it had taken them to grow.  They didn’t reach these heights overnight.  And it takes just the right conditions for them to even grow in the first place.  Only a tiny fraction of one percent of sequoia seeds ever grow.  At all.  That is what Girl Person told me.  And yet, when they do grow, they become the largest trees.  In the world!

Their seeds are worth planting.  Our seeds are worth planting.  Your seeds are worth planting, whatever it is that you are trying to grow.

It is against all odds that these sequoia trees make it and survive for thousands of years.  And for us, even though we feel like this journey is never ending, the trees told us that we still have some life left to give.  We still have some animals to fight for.  We still have to show people that two dogs can make a difference.

Time to eat all your words (high time we made a stand and shook up the view of the common man)
Swallow your pride (and the love train rides from coast to coast)

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As we left the forest with all of the wisdom from the trees that we needed, we came back to camp to find a little bird.  The campground persons were trying to save it, and as they found other birds who were shot all around him, this little bird was still alive.  He somehow had survived. He had made it against all odds.  Just like the sequoia trees.

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They were taking care of him, and talking to him, and we were all hoping for him.  All of a sudden, he opened his eyes and started to fly, if just a little bit.

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In just a few hours, he was ok.  How had he had the strength to recover, despite all that had happened around him?  Because he wanted to live.  And once again, the persons knew that all they needed to hear this day was spoke to them…by the trees…by the bird.  If they wanted to be happy, it was up to them to keep planting seeds until something grew.  They couldn’t sit back and hope for good things to happen.  They had to water what they needed to water, feed what they needed to feed, and yes, hope.  Because without hope, nothing will grow.  Hope is something we have to hold onto and put on our dreams.

Open hearts, feel about it
Open minds, think about it 

As we went to bed last, night, Girl Person thought about the day, and she looked over at something by her bedside that for her, was a symbol of what would keep her going.  Where we land is where we will plant…our tree.  Our sequoia tree.

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This sequoia tree may take years to grow, but it took years for us to grow too. And where it is planted will prove to be where our home is and where our hopes will lead us.  And for birds that fly to its branches, we hope that they will feel just as comforted as we have this week by the sequoias.  Find your tree today.  Find your hope today.  And plant and sow your seeds.

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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Country Roads, Diesel And Lettuce

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  There are some days when we may know where we are headed, but we have no idea the way we will get there…even if we think we do.  And thus, another Adventure Of A Lifetime begins again for us.  And for you too!

Take to the highway won’t you lend me your name
Your way and my way seem to be one and the same

Seems like we have done this before.  And I guess we have…about 3 other times to be exact.  But even though we keep going to the same destinations, there is always a different road to get there.  Some may not understand why we seem to be on a never-ending journey. But isn’t life a never ending journey too? At least we wish it to be.

Mama don’t understand it
She wants to know where I’ve been
I’d have to be some kind of natural born fool
To want to pass that way again
But you know I could feel it
On a country road

So this weekend, we headed out again, yes, back to that Florida place.

But this time, we choose another way.  Because as long as we are doing this, we might as well keep an open mind and open hearts.img_8972-1Not one of us has had anything work out exactly the way we wanted to.  But those things that don’t work out sometimes lead us to better places.

img_8949Like when I was taken to the shelter, it sure didn’t seem like a place I wanted to be. However, not only was I found, but my life was forever changed.  And look at where it led me.  And Deputy Digby Pancake too. Sometimes, when I contemplate that, and I do…this trip back to Florida seems to make all the sense in the world.  Because I know it will lead us somewhere great.  Me?  Optimistic?  Today I am.  I have to be the bark of reason around here.img_9066

As we left the coast of that California place, we stopped, and took a deep breath.img_8940Yes, we were getting further and further away from Sonoma.  And it made us want to cry at certain moments.  But we knew we had to do this, and so we looked at things that maybe we wouldn’t have had a chance to see if not for the trip back.

I guess my feet know where they want me to go
Walking on a country road

It took us a bit to get going, but once we started, and Girl Person got out her frustration on a box of chocolate covered raisins and a bag of potato chips, we looked outside.  Here we were, going down new roads.  We found ourselves driving through the “salad bowl of the world” near Salinas, California.

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There was lettuce and artichokes and I guess salad, as far as the eye could see.

I found myself all of a sudden craving a Mutt Salad.

We knew that we had a four hour drive to our next camping spot in Sequoia National Park.  So we took it slow, enjoying the ride, except for me.  I am done with this. Pretty much done with this.  So as I took Girl Person’s front seat, which is actually my front seat while Girl Person sits on the floor, I tried to relax.  But we were passing a gas station, and after 3 hours of driving, Boy Person decided that maybe we should stop.  We still had an hour to go.  Which for us in the RV mean about one and a half, as slow as we go.  So we pulled over, Girl Person got us out to walk around, and Boy Person went to filling the Big Blue Treat Wagon with diesel.  We were gone a little bit, and as we neared the RV, Girl Person wondered where the river had come from in the middle of the dry, California mountains.  She then wondered why Boy Person was wet.  And then we saw it.  The gas hose on the ground.  Boy Person looking mad.  And everyone else around him, even at the popsicle stand, looking at him like he was crazy.  Because he was crazy.

I don’t know nothing ’bout the why or when
But I can tell that it’s bound to be
Because I could feel it, child, yeah
On a country road

When you seem to find yourself in the middle of the salad bowl of the world at a gas station near a popsicle stand and a grove full of oranges and fields full of lettuce, be careful.  Because apparently, that is when diesel fuel will explode all over you.  Boy Person told Girl Person that it was going to take a couple of hours to get a shower, clean himself up, throw away his clothes and both of their shoes sitting by the door.  So.  When you are in the salad bowl of the world, at a gas station near a popsicle stand and a grove full of oranges and fields full of lettuce with your Boy Person covered in diesel fuel and your two dogs hungry because they think dinner is late because of this stupid time change, you go in the store and you buy more potato chips and chocolate covered anything.  And this.  This was the start of a our trip back.  Seemed we could get there faster walking at this point.

Walk on down, walk on down, walk on down
Walk on down, walk on down a country road
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
Country road, oh, yeah
Walking on a country road

Did we make it to camp? We did.  Very late.  But no one has ever accused us of being on time.  And as we pulled in to our campsite in the dark, although we couldn’t see the trees yet, we felt the fresh air, we heard the river, and we knew.  Everything was going to be ok.  In the end.  And we hope that the end is not anytime soon.

Will you join us today on our Facebook page as we explore the beautiful giant trees?  Let’s do this!  I packed a salad.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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Do I Put Too Much Pressure On My Dog?

Have you ever had just one of those days? You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, things just don’t go your way, and well, you don’t know why. Perhaps it is because you are sick. Perhaps it is because you had a long week at work. Or, perhaps, you just don’t feel right. So you talk to someone that you think cares. You talk to someone that you think maybe knows how you feel. But they can’t talk back. Your dog becomes your therapist, and is constantly on call.

For me, as I have been battling depression for most of my life, dogs have been my lifeline, and it seemed that each one of them had no trouble being my therapist. But did they? Did I not realize the toll that my depression and anxiety was taking on them?

If not for my rescue dog, Peanut Butter Brickle, I may have never thought of this. Brickle to me is what you may call…my heart. He eats, sleeps and breathes…me. I look at him and wonder sometimes how I deserve to have this dog in my life. And the answer is that I don’t.

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For every moment that I spend worrying, he worries too. For every moment that I am sad, he is sadder. For each and every moment that I am depressed, he seems to feel it a hundred times more. And I hate that. At first, I wondered why he got so many stomach aches, or why he seemed so tired. I was so busy worrying about my self, that I did not take into account that he was trying to take my pain away. And in his attempt to do so, he was willing to feel everything that I was. And it was making him sick. I was making him sick.

For my other rescue dog Digby, I know that he cares for me. But he has the ability to disconnect from my sadness, leave me alone, and take a nap.

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For Brickle, he can’t seem to do this. And as one of my bad days hit me again, and I looked at him, I wondered.

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Was I putting too much pressure on my dog? Was I the problem here? How selfish was I being? How could I deal with my depression in an effective way that would not harm my dog? Because I was harming him.

If you have ever went thru something in your life, or you deal with chronic mental health issues, your emotions may seem uncontrollable. For me, I do sometimes feel like this. I start obsessing on never having human children, on financial mistakes, on life mistakes. I start worrying about all of the wonderful shelter animals we have met on the road. And it overwhelms me. But I know one thing above all else. I love my Brickle. And I AM putting too much pressure on him. So yesterday? Well, I decided that enough was enough. Tomorrow? I may not be as strong. But all I can control is today. And I will not allow my emotions to reflect on my face. If I have to step outside to cry, I will. If I have take a drive, I will. We all say we would do anything for our dogs. But would we really?

Some of us who have battled with anxiety or depression may not realize how serious it is. Some of us have been dealing with it our whole lives. Sometimes, on some of my bad days, I realize I am frustrated. Even with my dogs. I may pull their leashes a little tighter. Or I may have a shorter temper when they act up. And they do act up. But on my happy days, I deal with them differently. And there is no excuse to put this type of pressure on my dogs.  I can control my emotions.  They can’t.

I believe that being a dog parent come with an extreme amount of responsibility, sometimes even more than having human children. Why? Because unlike human children, dogs cannot speak up for themselves. They do not have free will most of the time. And they rely solely on us. We have invited them into our world, and it is up to us to treat them like the individuals that they are. And for me, being a dog parent comes with growth, and ways to improve.

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As different as Brickle and Digby are, so are all of the other dogs I have had in my life. They have each taught me something, and have made me a better person along the way.

For Brickle, he has taught me that perhaps one of the best ways I can deal with my depression is to not think solely of myself, but to realize that I am affecting others.

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And by doing this, even if I have to put on my best face on my worst day, I will do it. Because my dog is my life, and he deserves the best one I can give him.

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs

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Look Down While You’re At It

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  And persons? You have a lot to deal with everyday.  How do you do it all?  I just don’t know.  I barely have time for all of my naps and meals.  And Sheriff Brickle barely has any time after he is done arresting everyone and everything.  So.  How do you do it?  How do you keep going when you have so much to worry about?  Is that why you don’t notice much around you?  I am starting to understand.  But I would like to make some suggestions as Deputy.

When we started back across the country again this week, we were sad.  It seemed like an overwhelming task to make it back to that Florida place again.  But in the midst of all of the rain, literal and figurative that we found ourselves in yesterday, Girl Person noticed something.  That she hadn’t noticed anything.

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You see, here we were in this beautiful setting, and all that she could think about was that she was sad.  All she could think about was the negative things in her head.  She wasn’t noticing the sand. She wasn’t noticing the sand dunes. And she wasn’t noticing anything.  At all.  So she stopped.  And instead of looking up, she looked down.  And she tried not to fall.

She all of a sudden felt like she was being so disrespectful.  How many people she wondered, would hope to be in this exact spot right now?  And how many things was she overlooking right now that she may never see again?

She was passing up that one little flower who she would never pass again.

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She was passing up those little plants that she wouldn’t get to say hello to ever again.

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She was passing up so much.  And it wasn’t right.  Why was she allowing all of the rain and clouds in her mind to block the beauty and things around her?

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Girl Person decided that maybe she was a little down.  But as long as she was looking down, she would appreciate what was down there.  Sometimes, we have to go thru things in our life that aren’t the funnest, or the happiest.  But it makes us better at the end.  And there is always something that we wouldn’t have noticed if we hadn’t been down in the first place.

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So if today’s problems are bringing you down, open your eyes.  And look down while you are at it.  See the things clearly around you.

If we had not decided to try and head back to that Florida place or somewhere in between, we may never have met this beach, or the plants, or the flowers.  So as long as we are here, we will look down.  And we will greet them with open paws.  Look down while you’re at it.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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Nothin Remains Quite The Same

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  Have you ever wondered where the time goes?  Seriously.  Where does it go?

I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year.
All of the faces and all of the places,
Wonderin’ where they all disappeared.

Yesterday was very hard.  I won’t lie, because I took an oath as Sheriff.  Girl Person and Boy Person are pretty down with leaving Sonoma County.  The last year and a half seems like a total blur sometimes. We can’t remember where we have been some days, but we always remember who we met along the way.  And every one of them has touched us.  But especially the people of Sonoma County who offered up their driveways for us to park in or trying to find us a house.  It was their kindness that made it even harder to leave.  And another truth fact?  I wasn’t happy about leaving either.

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Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I’ve been.
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again.

As we drove away from the place that has our hearts, we didn’t look back.  We didn’t cry. Because we feel like we have no emotions left to even give.  Sometimes, things don’t work out.  And they didn’t work out the way we wanted to. Someone told us one time to make the sweetest lemonade from the lemons that you are given.  But what if you don’t even like lemonade?  I wanted to throw it out the window yesterday.  Is this very professional of me to say all of this and not act all happy about leaving?  Perhaps.  But I don’t like lemonade, and I will say it again.  But you know what else?  It isn’t the end of the world.  At some point, we will be ok.  Just not today.

If it suddenly ended tomorrow,
I could some how adjust to the fall.

Girl Person has told me that nothing ever remains quite the same.  And we are thinking that another happy place may be out there.  When we drove into our new campsite last night in Marina, California, we heard it.  The ocean.  We saw it.  The sand.

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And when we looked around?  We felt a little tinge of a happy feeling and a content feeling not only beneath our toes, but our hearts.  We saw bluebirds singing and felt the life all around us.

Changes in latitude. Changes in attitude. #2travelingdogs

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Isn’t is amazing that on our hardest days, life seems to go on?  Life doesn’t stop for us.  It keeps going, because it has to.  And we can too.

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

For the persons who didn’t think beyond a year full of rescue visits and volunteering when we started this trip, they didn’t plan ahead very much, because each day was hard. But we did it.  And we can do this too.  I just need a day to refocus.  To write down a plan of action, because that is what I do.  But I will be doing this while listening to the ocean. Because it has a way of speaking to us just like the animals did this week at camp.  The things that speak to our hearts often have the best advice.  We just have to silence our own thoughts and the Depression Monsters.  I have no time for them.

Oh, yesterdays are over my shoulder,
So I can’t look back for too long.
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me,
And I know that I just can’t go wrong
With these

Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.

Each of us has a different journey.  Some people may see some of our journey on the outside, but dealing with our own insecurities, putting ourselves down and being scared are things that maybe others don’t see.  But if we have to keep going forward, and being better persons and furkids, we have to maybe change directions, change our attitude, change our latitude.  Whatever it takes, do.

If we can do this and keep going…possibly back across the country for the fourth time in our lives…you can too.  Let’s go on whatever journeys we are facing together.  And we will get there however we can.

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I think about Paris when I’m high on red wine,
I wish I could jump on a plane.
And so many nights I just dream of the ocean.
God, I wish I was sailin’ again.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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The Last Dance May Be Just The Beginning

This is Deputy Digby Pancake.  Today is the day, folks.  We are back on the road.  Are you with me?

I need you by me
Beside me, to guide me
To hold me, to scold me
‘Cause when I’m bad
I’m so, so bad

You may be thinking to yourself, well, where are they going?  Well, let me explain it this way.  Have you ever looked at a shelf full of maple syrup at a grocery store? There are so many options.  Some may be not real maple syrup, which in my Deputy book is a crime.

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Some may be from that Canada place or that Vermont place.  Some syrup may be on the top shelf so that I can’t reach it because it is too expensive.  And some may be just out of reach. And although you want the best and most expensive maple syrup, you realize that maybe you are going to have to save up to buy it one day.  But it won’t be this day.  And so you buy one that tastes good too, because who can go wrong with maple syrup?  And you enjoy it, because you are thankful you have it.  And well my friends, that was too long of an explanation and I still didn’t explain anything.  But I am hungry.

You see, we have tried to find a way to stay here in this perfect California place to buy a house.  But right now, we aren’t finding it.  And the waiting is making the Depression Monsters able to get inside to bother Girl Person.  So instead of just waiting around in a campground, we are going to have some fun! We aren’t going to do a sad slow dance about leaving California for now, because why are there sad slow dances anyway?  I mean seriously.  You persons go to weddings and people dance with other people real slow and cry about it.  If you are going to have a last dance, make it happy!

So c’mon baby
Dance that dance
C’mon baby
Dance that dance
C’mon baby

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But last dances?  Sometimes they are just the beginning.  And we aren’t thinking any further than the last dance here in Sonoma…for this week.  Who says we can’t come back in a few days if that is what we choose?  No one.  If they did, we wouldn’t listen anyway.

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What we are going to do is drive for a few hours to a place called Carmel, California.  Oh, no we could never afford to live there.  Because they probably have caramel in their oceans.

Yes, they must have caramel.  Maybe even caramel syrup.  But that is definitely on the top shelf. Nope, we can’t live there, but who says we can’t visit and try to clear our heads?  And then, on Friday, we are going to head to somewhere with giant trees called Sequoia National Park!

You see, when you can’t make a decision that you want to, sometimes, you just have to stop trying.  Because nothing is working.  And that is how the persons have been feeling the past few weeks.  So instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for ourselves, we are going to make some happy.  And we are going to get to dancing about it! We have our whole lives ahead of us to dance wherever we want.  Who says you have to dance the same dance in the same place forever?

So! We are going to get back on the road and do some traveling for a few weeks.  And then?  If it feels right, we will head to that Florida place and check out Fernandina Beach.  Along the way, we may check out Beaufort, North Carolina.  And who knows what else?  We may even just turn this Big Blue Treat Wagon RV back around to Sonoma County if our perfect house comes up.  Because just sitting here is doing none of us any good.  Because no matter what we decide, it will be good.  Girl Person even thought that maybe a good idea would be to buy a little house and a little yard in one place that was not on the top shelf, and then visit Sonoma for a few months each year too in the RV!!  You see, this dancing thing?  We may have needed lessons to get started.  But this waltz is going to be magic.  Waltz?  I think I could waltz.  Sheriff Brickle?  He totally does the salsa. He says its for the ladies.

So if you are willing to keep dancing with us as we learn the steps of this part of our life, won’t you come with us today?  We don’t want to go without you.  You have been there ever since the beginning.  And this last dance?  Well, it is about to start.

So let’s dance, the last dance
Let’s dance, the last dance

-Deputy Digby Pancake

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