Aardvark? Armadillo? You Tell Me.

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  If there is one thing I know it is how to look good.

If there is another thing I know, it is that I know pretty much everything.  Sometimes, I feel like I know more than persons.  Because dogs see more in a moment and we aren’t thinking about something else when we see an armadillo and we call it an aardvark.

Truth.  Truth is hard to come by for persons.  You think you see an armadillo, but then you remember it as an aardvark because you are thinking about too many things like where to live, where to go, how to pay for it, if everyone will be happy and if we are making any right decisions.  Yes, meet Girl Person on a normal hike.

As we were sitting there enjoying the day, Girl Person was filming us.  You may find this hard to believe, but she could get a job in the puparazzi.  I knew she was there, but I was concentrating on the smell.  The smell of a criminal armadillo under a building.  I heard it.  I saw it.  And Girl Person saw my nose start to wiggle more and she decided that she better stop filming.

Right after she stopped, we jumped up to chase the aforementioned armadillo, but Girl Person was on to us.  She held us back with the tenacity of a…aardvark.  Oh, she saved that armadillo, but she didn’t save her pride.  You see, she asked people what they thought we were chasing.  She was being all clever and gave them a clue.  Like she thought she was on Jeopardy or something.

And later on that night, when Boy Person saw her video and her question, he related that he just couldn’t imagine what started with an a and ended with a k that we were chasing.  Girl Person told him that she was surprised.  Hadn’t he ever heard of an aardvark.  Boy Person said…in Florida?  In Florida?  In Florida?  Oh, Girl Person.  In Florida?

And Girl Person knew her mistake.  You see, it wasn’t that she had lost her mind.  That had happened a very long time ago.  It was the fact that she had lost her ability to enjoy the moment and stop filming us for two seconds.  If in fact she had thought about the armadillo and how cool he was, perhaps the aardvark wouldn’t have popped in her mind.  You see, armadillos are many in this Florida place.  We may take them for granted.  But that doesn’t mean they should be an aardvark to make life more interesting.

Take the special things from people we know and recognize them. Never compare them to someone else.  Never think that they aren’t as special as an armadillo.  And if you are so inclined, well, tell them so.  They might not be digging for compliments, but be an aardvark and let them suck them up.  They made need it.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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Don’t Feel Guilty About Taking A Vacation Without Your Dog

This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series! Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking on our daily dog blog! Join rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake for their takes on life every weekday at www.2travelingdogs.com.

First of all, let me say this.  I love my dogs more than anything on this earth.  I love my dogs more than anything in this world.  Anything.  Everything.  All things.  My dogs have saved my life from that Depression Monster more times than I can count.  And I owe them my life.

But if you are like me, when you love your dogs as much as I do, you love with everything you have.  And you forget about yourself.  And that is just the truth.  That is just what happens.  That is what happened to me when we sold our home three years ago, bought an RV and dedicated ourselves to spreading the message of animal rescue with our two rescue dogs, Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake.


But for the past three years, because we have been working so hard, and the RV lifestyle is very time consuming, I found myself losing it!  Losing what?  Weight.  Energy.  My personality.  Who was I?  Was I simply a caregiver to everyone but me?  Sure was!  And I didn’t even mind this most of the time.  I really didn’t.  I love taking care of my dogs, cooking for my dogs and taking care of my family.  I love it.  I feel like it is what I was meant to do.  But I was losing sight of what everyone always says.  To take care of others, you have to take care of yourself.  Oh, sure. How could I do that? I had stuff to do. Animals to save.  Senior dogs that needed me.  Yeah.  Right.  I just didn’t want to leave them.  I was being selfish, actually.  I was ignoring the fact that perhaps…just perhaps..they needed a vacation from me.


So did I go on that vacation? Oh, it was a hard decision. In fact, my husband and I debated on whether to go just a day or two before. We refused to sleep in our beds but all of us slept on the couch in the RV up until the last day.  We were having separation anxiety before our plane even left.  I felt selfish, I just knew that they wouldn’t survive without me.  I imagined them getting lost, sick, broken hearted.  But it was to a point that we had to go.  We booked our tickets, our room, and our sitter insisted over and over we go.  Our family encouraged us to please go.  Our friends told us we must go.  So.  We went.  And let me tell you, we had a great time after about day three.  Yes, it took that long to realize they were ok…twenty pictures from our pet sitter later.

I knew that if I was feeling this much guilt, other dog parents were too.  So I made it a goal to tell others that the vacation you have been dreaming of, the one that you so need because you are an awesome dog parent?  You should go.  You need to go. And here are the reasons why.

  1.  You hold your family together. You take care of everyone and everything. Recognize this and give yourself credit. But even a car needs maintence. Don’t wait until you have a breakdown.
  2.  Your dogs can’t tell you to take a vacation. But they may need a vacation from you. Have you lost your temper lately? Have you raised your voice, or felt like you wanted to give up? Your dogs want you to be happy. That is what makes them happy.
  3. When was the last time you did something that reminded you of…you? What did you like to do as a kid? Read? Write? Hike? Take a nap? You are still in there. You are more than a caregiver. You are important and your role in your family is invaluable. Your dogs can’t survive without you, but are you..YOU? They need the real you.
  4. Do you find time with anyone besides your dog too much of an effort? It is not fair to wrap all of our hopes and dreams into one person or one individual, or our dogs. If every waking moment is dependent on them, that is a lot of pressure! It’s too much pressure on your dog.
  5. Does your partner love your dog too? We certainly hope so. Yet, sometimes, we let our dogs come into our relationship in negative ways. It is easier to ignore problems with our partners and substitute the love from our dogs. But those problems will still be there. You may need time just the two of you to get back in sync! It is not your dog’s fault. It is our fault if we let this happen.
  6. It’s ok to realize that sometimes, we simply need a break from responsibilities to learn that we LOVE the responsibility that comes with being an awesome pet parent.

So did I take my own advice? I did. It was actually harder than I thought to pull out of the driveway at the pet sitter’s house.

If you have done all of your paperwork for the sitter, made sure their vet knows you will be gone, and you have all their meals and treat schedules written down..yeah, we all do that, then go. I told my dogs the exact amount of days I would be gone. I told them why we were going. I told them to enjoy themselves. And every worse case scenerio I imagined in my head? None of that happened.

I am not telling people to go on vacation and leave their dogs with just anyone. I am telling you to do everything you think that you should and then give yourself permission to take some time away for yourself.

Because when you come back, you will understand that you should have done this long ago. For me, I now know that my vacation gave me focus and a new understanding of how I could be better for dogs. Before my trip, I was pushing myself too hard and I was pushing them too hard.

Time away gave me perspective to look at my routines and my life as an outsider. And I have made some changes. But it all started with a decision to go on vacation without my dog. Is it ok? It is more than ok. Give yourself some of the love and devotion that your dog gives you. Your dog will understand. Don’t feel guilty about taking a vacation without your dog. Feel guilty if you don’t go, because you will not be able to be the best you can be. Now…go!

-Rachael Johnson, Girl Person and Owner of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner

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