Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dog Water Fun In Summer Sun

Hot summer Florida sunshine beats down on my dog and me when walking our neighborhood, even of a morning.

Vitamin D and H2O

While I soak up Vitamin D from the sun, my dog Valentino knows right where to go to get a drink of water to stay hydrated while walking the neighborhood. We think it right neighborly of area residents who run their lawn sprinklers in the morning.

Valentino Sips on H2O while Ruthi Soaks up Vitamin D

Yes, my dog and I know how to beat the heat in the dog days of summer. Just like kids, we think drinking from and running through sprinklers is great water fun!

Now, wouldn't it be nice if all lawns had one sprinkler just for the dogs and kids? (Big and small, of course!)

Fire Hydrant Sprinkler
Dog Water Dispenser
We think this fire hydrant sprinkler and automatic dog waterer would be pawsitively perfect in yards, patios, or balconies for dogs (and humans) for water play fun!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Amazon and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

When was the last time you and your dog enjoyed a splash of water from a lawn sprinkler?

Are you writing about dogs on your blog or web site this week?

Be sure to submit the link to your articles to this PAWSit Hop Saturday post so I and my dog can find you!

Get the code for your PAWSit post!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recall My Dog Valentino

My dog Valentino and I are having loads of fun in our recall training lessons. We practice during our neighborhood walks, a few minutes at a time.

When I call my dog Valentino, he turns to look at me, awaiting my next command.

My dog Valentino now comes when called. (Most of the time!)

Sit! Stay! Come Valentino! Good Boy!

My dog Valentino is such a good boy learning recall.

Training Tools for Teaching Recall

While my dog and I have no formal dog training, we do read and listen to teachings of other dog lovers and pet professionals. And we are both quick to apply what we learn about recall training.


Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Amazon and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

We enjoy Wordless Wednesday and even managed not to be too wordy today! We enjoy WW so much that we are linking up with BlogPaws and Noner Says this week. Visit their posts for many more links to articles of wonderful pictures of pets, people, places, and things!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Beach Walks With My Dog Tidbit

My dog Tidbit passed away in my arms on June 30th of 2014. This, then, is the telling of my beach walks with my dog to be remembered. She is still with me in spirit, as she shall forever be.

Walking Dog Friendly Beaches On Florida's Forgotten Coast

The coastal region in which I live is considered part of Florida's Forgotten Coast. My dog Tidbit and I spent a good amount of time walking a stretch of Lanark Beach along the Gulf of Mexico, just a few miles east of Carrabelle, in the Florida Panhandle.

My dog Tidbit resting on the Pier overlooking the Gulf of Mexico

Like most of the locals here (I transplanted from another part of the country) I am kind of glad this area has "forgotten" status. For instance: For a little over a year, Tidbit and I walked on the beach nearly every day. We saw only a dozen humans and a couple of dogs on the beach during that time. I brought half of those people to the beach when they visited us from my old home state of Ohio!

It is quiet here, even during tourist season. We have our fair share of vacationers, but thankfully, not like in other parts of the Sunshine State. I lived in South Florida for twenty-some years and can tell you I appreciate the peacefulness of the Panhandle.

The town of Sopchoppy is about fifteen minutes north of where I live. It takes but a minute to fly by the small town on my way to the nearest Walmart store in Crawfordville, about a forty-five minute drive from my home. You can listen to Gary P. Nunn singing “Redneck Riviera,” one of the songs from Tom T. Hall’s album, Songs From Sopchoppy.

These books and the album by Tom T. Hall will tell you all about the history and local interests in my neck of the world.


Dog's First Steps In the Sea

My dog Tidbit was an instant beachcomber! She took her first steps in the sea water of the Gulf of Mexico with tail-wagging glee. Then she ran out of the water to sniff the sand and seaweed, filling her senses with all the new sights and scents within her reach along the coastline.

Ah! I saw amazing adventures in the near future for my dog and me!

My dog Tidbit takes her First Steps in the Sea 

Click pictures for a larger view of Tidbit's first steps on the Florida coast.

Our Pier at Lanark Beach, Florida

We never really knew what our pier view would be when we headed to walk the beach. No matter the season, the weather, or the time of day, the pier against the palette of nature's sky, sand, and water colors was always spectacular.

Every view of the pier that my dog Tidbit led me to is engraved in my memory, along with my thoughts and feelings of the day. Even toward the end of her days here on earth, Tidbit would insist upon walks to the beach. Most often I relented, even though I knew she would need long rests on the pier or in the wet sand during our walks and before returning home.

Together, my dog and I witnessed sunrises and sunsets, rainbows and fog, stormy weathered skies, and cotton candied colors of the heavens. Together, we would sit or stand for hours while gazing upon the beauty before us, forsaking all else and others.

Click images for a larger view. 

Voices of the Old Pier Pilings of the Sea

It was love and respect at first sight for Tidbit and the Old Ones, just as it was for me. Here she rests among them after a long walk on the beach. Tidbit is treated with respect by the Old Ones, as if she were one of the pack.

Yes, to most, these are old pier pilings. Tidbit and I, we know better, as we have heard the voices of these storytellers. They’ve many a story to tell the beachcombers of the sea who are willing to listen to the wisdom of their ages.

My dog Tidbit rests upon the surface of an old pier piling.

As my dog Tidbit rests in the heat of the day in the wet sand with the Old Ones nearby, I finger paint her name on the shore. All the while I listen intently, in hopes of hearing their whispering spirits. I hear only the soothing sound of the sea splashing over my own words. (I guess their chat is private today!)

Tidbit is delighted on those days we walk on the beach during low tide. No matter how tired her old body might be, she has the will to walk as far out as she must to walk among the pier pilings she seldom sees. (I went on ahead, leaving them their space and privacy.)

On a dreary day, shortly before cancer took Tidbit's life away, she insisted upon a walk to the beach. I knew the sea was calling her and she was not to be denied.

I cried as she took her stance among the Old Ones. She looked as if she belonged among them. Oh, how I wished it were not so!

My dog Tidbit says Goodbye to Friends on her last Sunset Beach Walk

I created this picture poem after I had a long chat with the Old Ones about my aging dog Tidbit. I knew that one day in the near future my girl, the canine mate of my soul, would no longer stroll the beach with me in body, but I was assured she shall always be with me in the voices of the sea spirits.

Beat the Heat of Summer Sun at the Beach

It is of utmost importance to me to remind you to keep your dogs cool while walking the beaches, especially in the heat of the day. The hot summer sun in the tropics (anywhere for that matter) can cause heatstroke in dogs.

My dogs and I know how to keep our cool in the dog days of summer!

Kaleidoscope of Color from Sea to Shore

In late Spring (2014) and hurricane season's arrival, also came the storms and ripping tides on the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Seemed appropriate for my dog and me, as aging Tidbit had seemingly little desire nor energy for the short trek to the beach of late. However, she surprised me one late afternoon with an insistent pull toward the Gulf shore.

Although I generally follow Tidbit’s lead on our walks, I was really worried she wanted to walk the beach but would surely not have the physical strength to do so. Off we went anyway.

She led me straight to a kaleidoscope sky view—a rainbow!

Kaleidoscope Sky in Haiku

The sky was a dappled blue and gray, the wind bellowed coolness to cloud the humidity, and the rainbow appeared to be chasing sea and shore.

Tidbit rested, not heading to the pier as she normally would. She stared at her old stump of a tree friend nearby. About the time I was wondering whether she would visit with her friend, she moved toward it, as if to listen to the voice of the elder one. After a few moments, she turned herself around and headed home.

Again following her lead, I couldn’t help but turn back for another view of the darkening sky and just as I was about to curse it goodbye with a tear in my eye, it began to rain … just enough to drown me in my tears.

You see, I believe the rainbow to be a gift from the gods. Sure, it’s a promissory note of a bridge between earth and heavens, but I also believe it to be a bridge between life and death, and that is why I curse the rainbow’s symbolism of change on this date.

I was not ready for the changes taking place in my and Tidbit’s life, in our time on this earth together. Alas, I had little choice but to embrace the change, as my dog had done.

Tidbit so graciously accepted each day’s gifts! Most importantly, she made sure to share them with me, leading me to her understanding, as slowly but surely as she was able. And I followed her lead.

Ruthi and her Dog Tidbit Gazing at the Sun and the Sea

My dog Tidbit and I lived a good life together, for fourteen years, the last year in Florida, until her passing on June 30th of 2014. I know without a doubt in my mind that she not only prepared me for the next dog in my life but that she led me straight to him.

These days, my dog Valentino and I walk the same stretch of beach as did Tidbit and I. As we follow her footprints we hear her voice amid the spirits of the sea. We shall carry them all with us, through our teardrops and our laughter, wherever we go ... Forevermore.

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Amazon and Zazzle and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

Have you a good dog lovers story to tell?

Publish your dog-related tale and add the link to the PAWSit Hop Saturday list below.

Grab the code for your PAWSit post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sassy Dogs Life Perspective

We dog lovers learn many life lessons from our dogs and are quick to apply these to our own way of living life to the fullest. Sometimes all we need to do is to add a bit of sass to our lifestyle and smile!

On Tuesday of each week I generally share a "Tongue Out Tuesday" picture of one of my dogs (past or present) on Facebook and other social circles. Since this month marks the one year anniversary of the passing of my dog Tidbit, I chose a photo of her with a bit of her sassy tongue in action.

I was teaching Tidbit to drink from her new H2O4K9 Dog Water Bottle and Travel Bowl. Let me tell you ... My sassy dog raised her head and stuck her tongue out at me!

In the end, I taught my old dog a new trick. And, she taught me to live life to its fullest — from a dog's perspective! She was a class act, a gem of a dog, my girl Tidbit.

I placed my dog's picture and life lesson on a plaque to remind myself to live life with sass. Take a closer look at this photo plaque and you, too, may find you'll want it as a reminder to add a touch of class to your life with a tidbit of sass.

Go ahead! Stick your tongue out!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Zazzle and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Beach Hound Off the Leash

Off The Leash on Amazon
A hound dog is quite capable of picking up a scent and following it wherever it may lead, forsaking all commands to "come" from its owner when called. My dog Valentino is no exception to this off-the-leash rule of paws.

While I do not recommend allowing a hound dog to roam around off leash, I work diligently with my dog to give him as much freedom as possible. Fenced areas with no chance for escape from my direct supervision are best, of course, but there are no such places nearby for me and my dog.

Valentino and I have progressed together in our dog training to the point that I know when he is giving me his full focus and in the mood to follow my commands. Even so, I know deep down in my dog-loving heart that a stray cat can easily distract this redtick coonhound.

However, and probably against my better judgment, I do allow my American English Coonhound to run free on occasion. And even though I say "off-leash" he is still wearing harness and leash and hopefully I have time to grab it if needed!

On one of our neighborhood walks each day, I will drop the leash, working diligently to train him to stay in stride right beside me and to sit and stay while I walk away, then to come when I call him. Valentino amazes me with his eagerness to please and gain his reward for doing so — special treats!

Recently we took an evening walk on our favorite stretch of deserted beach here in the Florida Panhandle. After walking the shoreline for a while making sure he was in focus, I let go of his leash, had him sit and stay while I walked about fifty feet away, then called him to come. My dog Valentino ran free as the salty sea breeze to come to me!

My dog Valentino begs for his treat.

But of course, he finished up his freedom run by circling me in his "Where's my treat?" dance of enthusiasm for a job well done.

Next, I gave the "Let's run!" command and he ran by my side to the next pier stretching out over the Gulf of Mexico. We then walked the seashore, Valentino untethered by my hand gripping his leash, for nearly an hour.

My dog Valentino rests while watching the waves roll in.

As long as he stayed within a few feet of me and stopped on command, I gave Valentino leeway to investigate the coastline on his own. I couldn't help but wonder if the sea looked different to a free dog than to one held in check by human hands holding its leash in a tight grip.

I took only a few pictures of my dog on this, his first beach walk in freedom for dogs, as my focus was on his safety and enjoyment. Of these images, this one (below) is most special of all, for I had allowed him to go a few feet further than usual and he kept turning to look at me as if waiting for the "Stop!" command.

Me? I was enjoying the pleasure of my hound dog's treasure seeking beach walk — off the leash!

My dog Valentino searches for hidden treasure in the fresh seaweed.

I can not really know whether it was he or I who enjoyed his freedom more. Honestly, I think it was me!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Amazon and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

Have you a dog lovers story to tell? Publish it and add the link to the PAWSit Hop Saturday inLinkz list below. Valentino and I will stroll in for a visit!

Grab the InLinkz code for your PAWSit post.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Wish List For My Hound Dog

My dog arose bright-eyed for breakfast, a walk in the morning sun (taking care of doggie business) then settled in for a long morning nap, perchance to dream up a wish list of things for himself.

My dog Valentino says, "Good morning, Sunshine!"

Naturally, I am assisting my hound dog Valentino with the writing of his list of wishful and needful things. I will update this dog's wish list regularly when I buy the items or we receive them as gifts. (Not-so-subtle hint..:-)

3 Needful Things On My Dog's Wish List

View Harness on Amazon
Tops on our list of needed walking gear is the Ruffwear Front Range Harness. My boy needs this that pretty Pacific Blue, size medium for his girth, with room to gain or lose an inch or two. Preferably, lose!

After careful consideration, I have determined this harness will suit my needs just fine, keeping him comfortably secure when out and about. It has front and back leash attachment points, which is important to me. And, both neck and girth straps are adjustable for a comfortable fit, while snug enough my Houdini dog will not be able to back out of his harness.

As much as Valentino enjoys his freedom, he is crate trained. I was lucky to receive a used Petmate Vari Kennel for this purpose from the shelter from whence he came.  Unfortunately, this crate has a lot of wear and tear and is even cracked around the door frame. It works fine with supervision, but I would not trust it if I am not around to watch my dog.

Since we will move to a new home soon and I will be returning to work full-time, I feel I may need to crate the dog while I'm at work until he gets used to his new surroundings and not having me around as much. I do not want him chewing up the new place while unattended.

While the Merry Products Cage with Crate Cover Set (Large) would be my dream for my dog, more likely I will settle for the Home On-The-Go Dog Crate in Black X-Large. Hopefully, I will eventually be able to pay a handyman to build a table around it!


But of course, no wish list for dogs would be complete without a real treat for the dog!

While my hound dog has taste-tested some of the best dog treats around — those made by Good Reasons and Paws Barkery — right now his taste buds await this Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon Dog Treat!

Valentino knows a good thing when he smells it (even in his dog dreams!)

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an Associate of Amazon and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.

No doubt you have a dog treat that is your dog's favorite, too. Write a review! Or, publish your dog's wish list!

If you do, we encourage you to add the link to our PAWSit Hop Saturday link list below.

Valentino will be happy to sniff them out!

Grab the InLinkz code for your PAWSit post.