From what I hear, it isn’t enough for a writer to sit around writing alone. You have to force yourself to become an extrovert and network and platform and find ways to reclaim your introverted self in a snap and write in the cobwebby corners of your now extra-hectic life. If you’re like me, and find all that self-promotion queasy and sleazy, you find ways to promote not yourself but other people and passions you share. So I’ve been busy working behind the scenes on The Gloria Sirens, plugging away on Mick’s book, and letting Mick take me out in the world. He’s three now, going on four, and doing well. He’s a big brother to Maisie now, and he’s herding sheep, working his way through agility, counseling foster dogs, and helping me teach tricks at the Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club. With Mick and Maisie’s help, (they are working dogs, you know), I’ve braved the Youtube world, stumbling my way through videotaped tricks training lessons without knowing a thing about framing, lighting, editing, or sound. But it’s going all right (even though all of this is more and more unpaid work, such is the madness of love). I’m doing it because Mick’s tricks saved Mick’s life and I want to share what we learned so that your love for your dog might grow a little more fierce, a little more sweet, and a little sillier too. And we aren’t alone.
Trick training is an easy, convenient way to interact with your dog anywhere, anytime, and all you need are some treats and some know-how. Perhaps your dog is easily bored, or seems a little depressed, or distant. Maybe your dog’s been naughty, or you’ve grown discontent with your relationship for some reason–too much toilet-paper shredding, chronic weave-pole refusal, or a pathological Minecraft addiction (yours or your dog’s).
Maybe you’ve got a service dog and a few tricks would add so much charm. Imagine if your dog could shake a dialysis patient’s hand, give a child with leukemia a high-five, or even pray with patients?! Maybe you have an awesome agility or obedience dog but you’re both getting bored, or strained, or you want something you two can do in the living room without breaking a lamp.
Maybe you have multiple dogs and one’s been neglected. Maybe it’s your new puppy. Maybe it’s your retired agility or herding star, and you’re weary of feeling harried and sad. Well, if you can, shut the other dogs away for a few minutes right now. This is quality time to cherish your friend.
Get down on the ground and join us for some sweet interaction with your best friend. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dog trainer, learning some charming tricks together can deepen your bond and soften your soul.
Or even give you some great new ideas and a belly laugh.
All it takes is two- to ten-minute sessions, your call. If you’re worried about overfeeding, you can use your dog’s regular food. If you hate how expensive dog treats have gotten, you can cut up some hotdogs or cheese or even use plain popcorn–stop making excuses and be creative! If your dog isn’t food-motivated, get a new squeak or tug toy and use it just for Tricks training–a special toy for a special time. And you don’t have to go it alone. You can work along with me on the Youtube channel or with other beginners in our Facebook group, Mick’s Tricks Spark Team.
The point is to share a goal with your dog. You two are in cahoots. Together you’re gonna nail roll over. Or you’re finally going to have a dog that can sit up and beg because it’s so darn cute and makes for great photos. Whatever your heart’s desire, this is one-on-one time. Eye-to-eye, here-and-now time. Low-pressure, high-value happiness time. It’s mindful moments you share with your best friend. It proves to the both of you that you are there–really there–for your dog. It doesn’t matter what the trick is or how quickly your dog learns it. All that matters is joy in your short time together.
That’s why every trick is magic.
As we were talking with Charlie, it hit me how much of a Boulder endeavor this is – from ASD Inc. contributing the spectroradiometer, to Boulder Mountain Repair fabricating our bespoke sled covers, to Epicenter Creative designing the mission patch, to Destination Epic donating our polar tent and managing our nutrition, to local heroes Eric Larsen, Andrew Skurka, and Gary Neptune – and the terrific store he founded – sharing their wisdom; and many others giving us inspiration and encouragement. Our little town casts a shadow much bigger than we are.
Preparations continue at a frantic pace. Tomorrow, Dr. Horodyskyj, our Principal Investigator and founder of Science in the Wild, will be finalizing sampling procedures with the spectroradiometer…
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Little by little the Penny Ice Cap Expedition is taking over my mind and my time. Abstractions and generalities about a great adventure turn into a thousand details that matter. The easy details are taken care of, and the tough ones are now front and center, as the clock ticks away towards our scheduled take off: April 10, 1500 UTC.
In parallel, we build our support network. Patrick will handle emergency operations, were they to be needed. He will also channel social networking for Science in the Wild. Wendy is Master Nutritionist for the expedition; and will handle social networking for Boundless Focus. We are recruiting a weather person, to keep us aware of the meso-scale picture while on the ice cap.
As the date approaches and we figure out all of the equipment details, we are about to shift to mission simulations – on the ice, and in the…
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We are living the knowledge economy. We sit and ponder about narrower and narrower topics, neurons within a superb yet spiralingly complex lattice of sensors, sense-makers, and deciders. With that backdrop, it is a welcome change of pace to work with my hands, modifying sleds, building cooking tables, labeling equipment bags, folding a large and […]
It’s no surprise that a great photo makes a world of difference in helping a dog get adopted. As potential forever families flip through photos on websites like Petfinder or through the adoptable dogs section of local rescues, the dogs with the most compelling photographs are the ones that will get the most attention. But exactly how big of a difference does it make?
A recent study from the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science took a look at 468 photos of young and adult black Labrador mixed breed dogs adopted via Petfinder across the United States. The goal was to discover how much of a difference a great photo makes, as well as what aspects of a photo most captures the attention of potential adopters . . .
Read on at Mother Nature Network
- Somebody on Facebook whom I’ve never met in person asked me if I’d help foster a puppy. I said maybe, but I sure better talk to my husband first! The next thing I knew she was sending me a whole litter. It’s the damnedest thing–it didn’t even occur to me to say no. Do you think I had a mini-stroke? What are the symptoms? Maybe it never really happened. Do you smell smoke? I better go lie down. They’ll be here Saturday.
- In a weak moment, I’d gotten a enormous bucket of fried chicken. I was looking for a place to pull over and eat it when I saw this mob of desperate homeless people on the roadside with four fires, four spits, and four puppies. I got there just in time! I gave them the chicken in exchange for the puppies’ lives.
- I was out in the backyard, when the ground shook, and I saw this hole, like a den. And one by one, these puppies popped out! I waited for their mother, but no sign of her. And then out of nowhere, the earth shook, and the hole closed up. It was awful! I hope the mother wasn’t still in there! Didn’t you feel the tremors? I’m sure the it’ll be on the news tonight.
- I was driving back from coffee with a friend when this bright light blinded me, and the car stalled. Through the glare I could make out this huge tubular silver shape overhead. I thought it must be a drone, but then there was this bald creature with huge eyes, and-and-and an anal probe–I was terrified! I must’ve passed out. When I came to, I was still in my car–and dressed, thank God. I thought it was all a freaky dream, but then I heard whimpering in the back seat, and there were these three puppies! Do you think they might be aliens?
- I was in the mall and this guy wearing a turban with a sickle-moon pin on it came up to me and gave me three wishes. I was thinking about whether I should ask for world peace,a press pot, or unlimited funding for public radio when I laughed and said, “Wow, I’m such a yuppie.” He said, “Done!” and vanished. There I stood in the middle of the mall with three puppies in my arms.