29 Dogs Loving the Snow More Than You

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Dogs have a way of brightening my day. Instead of complaining about the snow, look how PAWsome it can be in the eyes of (wo)man’s best friend.

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Stay warm out there and enjoy life’s journey! XO

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End Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

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All around the nation cities have implemented breed specific legislation (BSL). Just in the state of Michigan alone there are currently around 35 breeds of dogs that are banned. While pit bulls receive most focus when it comes to BSL, other breeds are targeted as well. Others include, but are not limited to German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Bulldogs and any dog that resembles these breeds.

This brings me to my first point. Breed identification is almost impossible. Veterinarians even sometimes struggle to correctly identify dogs by their breed. Reporters tend to rely on witnesses to identify the dog when a dog bite accident occurs. If a veterinarian struggles, how can the general public be expected to correctly identify the breed? Visual identification is not reliable and many witnesses may be predisposed to assume a pit bull is at fault because of the misunderstandings this breed faces. Due to this, the number of reported pit bull dog bites is higher than the reality that occur. The inability to correctly visually identify the breed also poses a serious problem when laws are in effect that allow law enforcement to enter a home and remove a dog just because it resembles a pit bull or other banned breed. If you’re skeptical and believe you could visually identify a dog, try this quiz to see if you can correctly identify the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Secondly, there is no credible evidence that shows pit bulls or any other breed are more susceptible to biting, which is the main reason for cities implementing BSL. Obviously the larger the dog, the more possible damage a dog bite could impose, but after the completion of controlled studies, The American Veterinary Medical Association has found that pit bulls are NOT any more dangerous to society than any other breed.

Next, BSL is extremely difficult and almost impossible to enforce. It’s also extremely expen$ive. After a highly publicized dog bite occurs, BSL is often a go-to “solution” when in reality it’s overlooking the underlying problem(s). To date there is no scientific data that proves BSL has significantly reduced the number of dog bite accidents. Dana M. Campbell, lawyer with a solo practice focusing on animal law and employment rights states, “One of the few known instances in which a breed ban’s effectiveness was examined and reported on in the United States occurred in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where a task force was formed in 2003 to look at the effectiveness of its pit bull ban. The task force concluded that the public’s safety had not improved as a result of the ban, despite the fact that the county had spent more than $250,000 per year to round up and destroy banned dogs. Finding that other, non–breed–specific laws already on the books covered vicious animal, nuisance, leash, and other public health and safety concerns, the task force recommended repealing the ban.”

Next, the number of shelters than are underfunded and overpopulated is alarming. When BSL is enforced, animals are removed from their homes and placed into these shelters. Due to overcrowding, the shelters are forced to euthanize these family pets even though they posed no risk of biting. 

Banning a specific breed is NOT going to reduce the number of dog bites that occur each year. The only proven ways to reduce these accidents per The Humane Society are by giving owners access to veterinary care, spaying and neutering resources, training and behavior assistance, and other socialization and health information.

dolce playingProactive strategies aimed at preventing bites from happening in the first place paired with appropriate enforcement-based responses to bite incidents create a safer, more humane approach to managing dogs in communities.

End breed specific legislation!  Every dog, no matter the breed, should be able to enjoy life’s journey.

Jack O’Lanterns: A Halloween Tradition With Dark History

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10703905_10203162118154600_737464045403669706_nWhile admiring the pumpkins Mike and I carved yesterday, I got to thinking. Why does this Halloween tradition exist and where did it come from?

There are many different versions of the tale. As with most legends, the tale changes depending on who’s telling the story. However, there is one man that is present in every version of the legend. His name is Stingy Jack.

Stingy Jack and the devil

Stingy Jack and the devil

Legend says that Stingy Jack was a foul-mouthed, drunken farmer from Ireland. He was a foolish and mischievous man.  One night Jack fooled the devil into promising him that he wouldn’t go to hell for his wide range of sins. The years went by and Jack grew older. When Jack died he realized he had not only been barred from hell, but from heaven too, for God would not allow such an unsavory figure. Legend says that Jack went down below and banged on the gates of hell. He demanded the devil fulfill the promise he made Jack years ago. The devil kept his word and did not claim Jack’s soul. Upset with Jack for fooling him years ago, the devil doomed Stingy Jack to wander earth for all eternity with only one piece of burning coal to light his lost soul. Legend says that Stingy Jack carved out a turnip and placed the coal inside. From here the Jack-o’-Lantern was born.

Communities in Ireland began to carve scary faces into their own turnips and placed a lump of coal inside. They displayed them in windows in hopes it would ward off Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. When Irish immigrants came to America they brought the Jack-o’-Lantern tradition with them. The Irish immigrants soon realized the pumpkin was the perfect fruit for carving since it’s native to North America and ripens perfectly in time for fall.

Is pumpkin carving one of your Halloween traditions? Here are the two pumpkins Mike and I carved yesterday. Thanks for reading and as usual, I hope you’re enjoying life’s journey. XO

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Sources:
How Stuff WorksUrban LegendsCBS LocalHistory

October: “Adopt A Shelter Dog Month”

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October is a month filled with bringing awareness to a variety of different things. Today, I am choosing to focus on “Adopt A Shelter Dog Month.”

unnamedDogs are a species near and dear to my heart.  I am so lucky to be greeted with dog kisses and wiggles from head to tail each time I come home. I can’t imagine my life without this little girl! Very special thanks to my boyfriend for taking her in before we started dating. His decision has allowed me the opportunity to grow so close to her.

There are more dogs in need adopt-shelter-petthan ever. If you’re ready to become a dog parent, I encourage you to adopt from your local animal shelter.

If you’re unable to adopt a dog, there are lots of other ways you can help.  Donate your time, your money or contact your local animal shelter and ask what you can do to help.

Check out the infographic I created below. It’s filled with facts facing dogs in shelters at this very moment.

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As always, enjoy life’s journey! XO

Fall In Love With Fall’s Lessons

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fall-leavesIt’s October and fall is officially upon us!  This season brings my favorite weather, football games, beautiful scenery, delicious food and lessons.  Every season gives us the opportunity to learn something, but it seems that fall has more enriching lessons than any other season.

Lesson #1:  Change Is Good

The leaves on trees change color and fall to the ground so that the tree can survive the winter weather.  If these trees didn’t lose their leaves, they would die.  We’re all faced with times of change.  Fall reminds us to embrace these opportunities, they could be just the thing we need to survive.

Lesson #2:  Live In the Moment

Fall reminds us that summer is long gone and winter is right around the corner.  Instead of wishing you could go back to yesterday or stressing about what tomorrow holds, live in the moment.  Look around you and admire all there is to see.  Be present with the people you surround yourself with and focus on the things that truly make your days worth living.

Lesson #3:  Spend Time With Those You Love

Fall is generous in the sense that it gives us opportunities to spend time with the people we love.  From tailgating and Halloween parties to Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping, fall is full of great excuses to spend time with those we love.  Just like the seasons, life is short.  Everyone can use a reminder to spend more time with loved ones.

Lesson #4:  Take A Moment To Chill

Summer seems to be the busiest season for most people.  As summer fades into fall, the temperature chills and we should too. Slow down and take a much deserved break.  Eleanor Brownn once said, “Rest and self care are so important.  When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from the overflow.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Lesson #5:  Do Something For Others

When a leaf falls from a tree, it is able to enrich the ground below with its nutrients.  As human beings, we are able to consciously choose to enrich those around us.  Do something positive in the life of a stranger or in the life of someone you love.

Fall in love with the lessons the fall season has to offer and enjoy life’s journey. XO

Special thank you to my BFF, Emily for your kind and encouraging words to begin blogging again. So lucky to be surrounded by such loving and supportive people.

23 Things I’ve Learned in My 23 Years

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1.  Love Yourself:  In an era consumed with body image, society often makes it hard to truly love yourself.  It seems that people are always comparing themselves to the images society claim to be beautiful.  I however, feel that what’s truly beautiful is the sense of happiness and contentment you have when you love yourself.  Realize that society’s perceptions don’t have to be yours.  Treat yourself kindly, do things that make you feel like a better person and focus on your goals.  You’re accountable for your own happiness.

2. Take Care of Yourself:  This can mean different things to everyone.  To me, this means drinking lots of water, maintaining a balanced diet, doing things that make me happy, receiving massage and exercising.  Whatever you feel the need to do for your body, do it.  If you don’t take care of your body who will?

3. Travel!  It’s Good For the Soul:  I am blessed and have been given the opportunity to travel to many places.  However, there are still MANY things I want to see.  The feeling I get while traveling and exploring new places is irreplaceable.  The time away from the everyday chaos of life is also important.  Everyone deserves a break.

 4.  Dream Your Own Dreams:  I’m sure you’ve felt the pressure to do things because others have made you feel it was what you should be doing.  I have, and I know that when I do those things it doesn’t bring me as much joy as it should because I didn’t do it for myself.  I believe everyone is on his or her own path to happiness, and we should support each other along the way.

5.  Earth is Beautiful:  After graduating from college last year, Mike and I took a trip to California to explore.  Not only was it one of the greatest trips of my life, it showed me so much more about life.  We traveled up the Pacific Coast Highway for hours from Santa Monica to San Francisco.  Never before have I seen such beauty.  The rolling hills, mountains, cliffs, ocean views, animals… (I could go on forever).  We were both in a state of awe, and that is something I will never forget.

6.  Communication, Trust & Respect Are Key Components to Any Relationship:  I believe these three things are undeniably three of the most important traits every relationship should be built on.  While they may seem obvious, it seems that some people often forget a piece of this puzzle.  While these traits are certainly important to the relationship with your significant other, they are also important to the relationships with your friends, family, co-workers and even your pets.

7.  My Parents Really Did Know Best:  Yes, I said it.  While I would have totally disagreed with this statement five or six years ago, I am now at a place where I understand.  I get why they would/would not let me do certain things.  I understand why they chose to punish me for some of the choices I made, and I know it was all from a place of love.  I also know that without their boundaries, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

8.  You Are What You Eat:  I made the decision a little over two years ago to change my diet dramatically.  After careful consideration, I made the change to vegetarianism.  These past two years have opened my eyes in more ways than I knew possible about my health, the food industry and myself.  While going vegetarian isn’t for everyone, it is important to be conscious of what you’re putting inside your body.

9.  Surround Yourself With Good Energy:  Surrounding yourself with good, positive energy is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  When you’re constantly around things that bring you down, it’s hard to stay happy.  As I’ve said before, you’re in control of your own happiness.  Cutting ties with people and habits can be hard, but also refreshing and uplifting when that negative energy is no longer surrounding you.

10.  Make Time for Family:  Family is one of the most important pieces of my life.  They are some of the most loving and supportive people I’ve ever met.  Without them, I would not be where I stand today.  While staying in touch is often hard, hearing from a family member is so nourishing for my soul.

 11.  An Animal’s Love is So Genuine:  I grew up with dogs in our home, and they were some of my favorite things in the entire world.  I am also lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone that rescued a dog before we started dating.  She is one of the greatest gifts in my life.  There is nothing greater than coming home to a creature so genuinely happy to see you that their whole body from head to tail shows it.  She is amazing and has completely stolen my heart.

12.  Keep Your Girlfriends Close:  I have been blessed with a group of friends that can never be replaced.  Even as life continues to change, we still manage to stay in touch.  I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I don’t know what I would do without them.  When you find great friends, keep them close.

13.  Everything Happens for a Reason:  I know it sounds cliché, but I truly believe this.  When I think back to almost anything I didn’t understand why it was happening at the time, I can now see the things that have resulted from that event.  While it doesn’t take the pain away from some of those events, it’s interesting to see what has occurred due to it.  Some events may not show their reason yet, but hang tight, I believe it’ll be clear eventually.

14.  Some Habits Should Be Broken:  I was a nail biter for as long as I could remember (eww, I know).  One day I decided I was just going to stop.  I don’t know what made me decide this, but it happened and I am so happy to be over that phase.  It’s nice to look down at my long painted nails!  Is there a habit you want to break?  I encourage you to try!

15.  If You’re Not Happy with Something, Fix It:  I know, it’s so much easier to complain about things than to actually take action to fix them.  I also know that you’re in control of your own happiness.  No one is going to fix your unhappiness.  While I do still complain from time to time (who doesn’t?) I know that whatever is bothering me won’t fix itself unless I take action.

16.  It’s Okay to Cry:  Most of you probably know that I get emotional over almost everything.  Whether they’re happy tears, sad tears, or I don’t even know why I’m crying tears, I’ve learned to embrace them all.  Crying is good for your health.  It can elevate your mood, reduce your stress level and release feelings.  No shame.

17.  You Can’t Help Someone if They Don’t Want Help:  You know the feeling… you spend hours giving advice to someone, and yet nothing changes.  I have come to realize that just because you are offering help and advice doesn’t necessarily mean they are listening or going to implement it into their life.  When they are ready and want the help, things will change.  Until then, I believe we must continue to support each other on our paths to happiness.

18.  Texting is Good, Video Chatting is Better:  I group text with two of my best friends every day.  We stay in contact with each other, and it’s great!  One day we decided to switch it up, and we group video chatted instead.  The minutes turned to hours, and two hours later I had laughed so hard I cried, smiled so much my cheeks hurt, and caught up with them more than I had in a week’s worth of texting.

19.  Everyone is Entitled to Their Own Opinion:  I certainly don’t agree with the views of everyone I meet.  But, I do understand that everyone has their own opinion, and I respect that.  I also know that my opinion is neither right nor wrong.  I believe that if everyone could respect the opinions of others, the world would be such a different place.

20.  Live a Life of Gratitude:  This is more than just saying, “Thank you.”  Living a life of gratitude means being grateful for the things you have in your life every day.  This will remind you of what’s important, and make you realize how many truly positive things you do have in your life.  For me, I know when I think of all the things I am grateful for, my mood increases, and life doesn’t seem so stressful.

21.  Time Flies:  One day I was reflecting on life and realized that time really does fly by before our eyes.  Live life to the fullest because every second that passes is one that you can’t get back.  My five-year-old sister went from being a baby to five years old in a matter of what feels like a couple months.  Take a moment to slow down.  Live in the moment because before you know it, it’s a memory.

22.  Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself:  I am my own biggest critic.  I’ve realized that when you understand that everyone (even the person you look up to most) makes mistakes, it’s much easier to be more lenient on yourself.  Appreciate yourself. Do the best you can with what you have in that moment.  That’s all anybody can ask of you.

23. Learn From Your Mistakes:  They’re bound to happen, we are only human.  Some of the greatest life lessons come from choices and decisions we make.  Whether we chose to do something against our better judgment or the outcome was not what we anticipated, they’re all lessons.  Don’t beat yourself up about them, learn from them, and grow from them.  Life’s a journey.