bichonpawz

Dogs really ARE Miracles with Paws!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Our Visit to Country Max


Each year, around Easter, Country Max has their Chicks and Ducks and Bunnies on display for all to see!  I am that woman who actually asks the workers if they mind if I take a photo...and of course...they say, "no problem"!


Aren't they so cute??














If Chloe had been with me...she would have been doing some serious SHAKING!!!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Old Man and the Dog


The Old Man and the Dog
by Catherine Moore

"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled at me. 

"Can't you do anything right?" 
Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle. 

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving." My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. 

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess. 

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man. 

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. 

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone. 

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. 

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article." I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog. 

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. 

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement.

"He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly. 

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog." 

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. 

"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. 

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples.

"You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. 

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal. 

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even 
started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night. 

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind. 

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers." 

"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article... 

Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. 


Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard,
love truly and forgive quickly. 
Live While You Are Alive.
Tell the people you love that you love them, at every
opportunity.
Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a
second time.
Thursday, March 23, 2017

We Trust the Experts in Quality, Safety, and Nutrition #WeBelieveInNB

**This post is sponsored by NaturalBalance® and the BlogPaws® Professional Pet Blogger Network™.  I am being compensated for helping to share our thoughts about why we believe in Natural Balance as a quality food for our dogs.  Bichonpawz only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.  Natural Balance Pet Foods is not responsible for the content of this article.**



One of the reasons we chose to begin the journey with Natural Balance® back in November 2016 was because we discovered after researching all the different brands that Natural Balance shared many of our own values!  Their "Buy With Confidence"® promise comes from many years of experience creating premium pet food.  It means a lot to us that they believe every bowl should be nutritious and safe...yet taste great too!!

Natural Balance crafts their premium foods out of quality ingredients.  Chloe and LadyBug just love the taste of the Wild Pursuit™ Trout, Salmon Meal, and Tuna Dry Dog Formula.  Natural Balance Wild Pursuit is a grain free diet with elevated levels of protein.  It resembles what our dogs would eat if they were out in the wild.  We absolutely will continue to feed Natural Balance for several reasons!  The flavors are derived from nature...NO artificial flavors.  Natural preservatives such as fish products and oils are included in the food...NO chemical preservatives.  Many food sensitivities are caused by corn, wheat, and soy.  Natural Balance guarantees they never use these items in their food.  They also guarantee that they don't use chicken or poultry by-products.  Some pets can be extra sensitive to grains and Natural Balance has taken that into consideration also by offering lots of grain-free choices in their food product line, as well as their treat product line.


Strict safety testing in accredited laboratories is performed on each and every single batch of food and treats that carry the Natural Balance name.  They actually perform NINE safety tests on each batch of food and treats.  I guess if we really think about it, how else could they guarantee that these premium quality ingredients would stay that way from the factory to our kitchens??  Every single test is conducted by chemists and microbiologists.  I won't go into all of the details of what each of the tests entails.  Suffice it to say that in-depth testing is performed for Aflatoxin, Cyanuric Acid, Vomitoxin, Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia Coli, Fumonisin, Melamine, Ochratoxin, Salmonella, and Zearalenone.  Now, if all that doesn't make you feel as good about purchasing Natural Balance as we do, we're not sure what will!!

The results of all of these tests are available publicly...just go to their website and enter the product date code and info and you'll get the results right away!

The Natural Balance Buy With Confidence guarantee is based upon four core beliefs:

2) Nutrition Experts

There are several different varieties of Natural Balance that Chloe and LadyBug consume on a daily basis.  Among their favorites (besides the food) are Belly Bites, Delectable Delights, Dental Chews, and Mini Rewards.  The Mini Rewards work great for inserting in their indoor puzzle games...the pieces are very small, chewy, and fit nicely in each of their games!

It is very difficult, if not impossible, for us to pick the most important core belief we share with Natural Balance because it is not just one thing.  It is a combination of all of the core beliefs that Natural Balance has.  It is SO important, especially in today's world, to KNOW for sure that the food we are feeding our furry family members is the exact food that is guaranteed to be safe and nutritious and is backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.  Thank you, Natural Balance!!  We wish more companies felt the same level of commitment to their customers as you do!

We are currently rotating between Wild Pursuit, Delectable Delights, and the Dog Food Rolls.  Chloe and LadyBug are fans of all three...and they do prefer variety in their diet!!


Head on over and show our sponsor some love...






This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Natural Balance. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In Memory of Sugar The Golden Retriever of Golden Woofs



Sugar was one of our first blogging friends and we cherish all of the time we spent getting to know her and her mom throughout all these years.

Sugar...you have left a piece of you in every single one of us and Blogville will always remember you.

We will miss every single GOLDEN hug and GOLDEN moment we shared together...

Our hearts go out to Sugar's family at this difficult time.

BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday

  


Monday, March 20, 2017