According to National Today Calendar, February 20 is Love Your Pet Day. As if we need only one day to love our pets.
“On February 20, we celebrate National Love Your Pet Day, a day to embrace one special trait that makes us human: our love of our pets! There are many things that differentiate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, but one of the more unusual behaviors is our longstanding tendency to keep other animals as pets. Gallup reports that sixty percent of Americans are current pet owners.”
I will lead off by sharing a few photos of my two dogs, Aero and Brodie.
Me and My Aero
We got little Aero in 2010 from a friend of a friend of my daughter, who got her dog, Gideon. Gideon is Aero’s older brother and is 12. I added him because he is my grand-dog and spent years living with us. They are mixed breeds, and the most mellow and wonderful dogs. Aero has a litter-mate named Woody who looks just like Gideon. Not sure how Aero ended up being the little brown runt, but he is the most lion-hearted dog you can meet.
“We may have pets, but when it comes to unconditional love, they are the masters.”Donald L Hicks
Aero has his many moods.
I love this photo of Mark and Liesbet of Roaming About walking Aero a few years ago (pre-Maya) when they were house-sitting in Sacramento.
An ODD but fun photo. Hey Aero, can you check my messages?
In late 2016, we started thinking about getting another dog to keep Aero company after my daughter moved away and took Gideon with her. Through a blog and a subsequent website, we discovered the Boykin Spaniel Society. We never really knew what kind of mix Aero was until I saw the website and exclaimed, “They all look like Aero!” The research and search began and we found a breeder in Northern California, near Mt Shasta. We picked up Brodie (whose name means “muddy paws” in the Irish language) in January 2017.
Boykins are also known as Destroykens, for as puppies, will chew everything! These are high-energy dogs who were bred to hunt and retrieve waterfowl in South Carolina.
“Boykin Spaniels are medium-sized spaniels, larger and rangier than Cockers but more compact than Springers. A retrieving dog known for its rich brown coat, the Boykin Spaniel is avid, eager, merry, and trainable. This mellow housedog and rugged bird dog, compactly built, was bred for small boat travel to work in the lakes and swamps of their native South Carolina. Web-toed Boykins can swim like seals.”Boykin Spaniel Source
At first glance Brodie does not look very big, standing below knee height, but he is larger than the average Boykin, weighing in at 60 pounds. His litter twin Drake is also the same size. Although Brodie does not hunt, he loves to swim, chase the ball (endlessly), and lay in the newfound snow. He has a deep-throated bark that will scare most grown men!
Gone But Never Forgotten
Dawn, from Change is Hard wrote a touching and beautiful tribute to her sweet dog, Bonnie.
Stormy, my second cat, was a big gray rescue. He lived to age 17 and was gently ushered to the Rainbow Bridge in 2007.
Oreo was our first family dog, an Aussie Shepherd/Springer mix chosen from the SPCA. He joined Stormy at the Rainbow Bridge in 2011 at age 14.
Leon, my 13-year old orange tabby, joined the others in 2018.
We decided as each of our pets moves on, we will not replace them, so we can be freer to travel by air and abroad. Aero is already 11½ while Brodie is 5. After mostly staying home in 2021 to move into our new home, we plan to do more traveling in 2022 which leads me to the next part.
Traveling with Pets
My hubby and I love to travel and over the last 4 years, most of that travel has been limited to taking road trips with our 27-foot travel trailer. After years of spending weekends in the Sacramento River Delta at our windsurf camp in various travel trailers, which became our second summer home, we are itching to see much more of the US and beyond.
“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.”Dave Barry
For us, taking road trips by car, or truck pulling our second home, means we can bring our two dogs with us. Traveling when you have pets complicates things in many ways. For example, when we must travel by air, the dogs typically stay in a pet lodge/kennel for several days/nights. They don’t love it, but they survive. The last time we flew to Phoenix, poor Brodie suffered from stress-induced colitis likely brought on by separation anxiety. Let’s just say it was a mess.
Even staying in motels is complicated because Brodie barks at every noise. We often choose motel rooms with an exterior door, rather than an interior door within a corridor.
As we contemplate future air travel, we are looking for a house/pet sitter if the trips will be longer than 5 days. If pets can stay in their own homes, they are much more relaxed and happier. For now, we are content to travel with the trailer as there is still so much to see in the Western US.
“The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog.”Anonymous
We are already booked to stay in a KOA RV campground in Leavenworth, WA. This is a quaint Bavarian-German town at the foot of the Cascades in Western Washington. A mere 3-hour drive from our area, we will stay April 3-6. Dream travel plans? Perhaps. I’ve never been there yet, and we’re excited to pull our trailer, and the dogs will have a safe place to hang out while we wander the town.
Also, our list of dream road trips includes Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, and perhaps a long, early summer road trip that includes Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. I will keep you posted for a blogger meet-up in case you live near any of these areas!
My love of the northwest for travel experiences is the motivation for this next section.
My Odd Pet Project
Long before I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I have always been fascinated with the totem poles associated with the indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Traveling along highways from the Sierra Nevada mountains in California northward into Oregon and Washington, I’ve seen countless totem poles. My favorites are ones that have the winged bird at the top with a variety of animals stacked beneath.
The local school district where I teach part-time as a substitute teacher is home to the eagles, their mascot. Outside the school district office is a huge, stunning wood carving of a bald eagle. Each time I see this, I wonder how I can get something like it for my home.
I even entertained the idea of finding a griffin to place in my yard, a mythical creature with the winged body of a lion and, you guessed it, the head of a bald eagle.
A short time ago, hubby and I walked into our favorite Northwest furniture store in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho to do some sofa shopping. As I walked in, this 6-foot tall winged wonder greeted us! And it bore a price tag!
We welcomed my new pets, the winged bird and bear to our home that Saturday afternoon.
Inspired by Marsha of Always Write (for PPAC Challenge) to share more about it on my blog, I started thinking about the process for preparing and painting it in the native tradition.
The bird on top can be painted to look like an American Bald eagle, so when I commented to Wayne from Tofino Photography on his incredible eagle close-ups about my project, he graciously sent me several stunning shots of the Daredevil, stating, “Mr. Goofy will be tickled to hear his face will be on one.”
Wow, what a compliment to have to live up to now!
This week, hubby and I went out to select paint colors and buy spray varnish to spray into the cracks in the wood. Since the totem pole will live outside on our deck, it needs to withstand the 4 seasons of northeastern Washington, especially the cold winters and warm summers (if last summer’s ridiculous heat was any indication of climate to come). I will share my progress on this pet project over the next few weeks.
And just for fun… pansies are sometimes referred to as the “monkeyflower,” because they mimic the monkey that’s looking at it, hee hee!
Photo Challenges this Week
Each week I am inspired by my fellow bloggers’ photo challenges. I find it fun to incorporate these into my Sunday Stills weekly themes.
- Becky B’s Odd Squares
- Cee’s Flower of the Day
- Johnbo’s Cellpic Sunday
- Marsha’s Writers Quotes Wednesday
- Marsha and Cee’s Photographing Public Art Challenge
Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders
Sunday Stills weekly challenge is easy to join. You have all week to share and link your post to this one.
- Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
- Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
- Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
- Tag your post “Sunday Stills.”
- Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post.
- I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
This Week’s Links
Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are this week’s links from bloggers who shared photos of their pets.
- YOUR NAME HERE!
- Always Write
- Bend Branches
- Between the Lines Book Blog
- Calling All Rush-Babes
- Cats and Trails and Garden Tales
- Cee’s Photo Challenges
- Easin’ Along Image shared in comments
- Graham’s Island
- Hugh’s Views and News Image in Comments
- Jacquie Biggar, Author
- Jodie’s Touch of Style
- Loving Life
- Musin’ With Susan
- Natalie the Explorer
- Now At Home
- Philosophy Through Photography
- Stevie Turner
- This is Another Story
- Woolly Muses
- Working On Exploring
“Until one loves an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”Anatole France
Even if you do not have a pet now, perhaps you did at one time, or perhaps you have a “grand-pet!” In any case, celebrate the day with photos of pets, favorite animals, yours, or otherwise. Have a wonderful week!
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