And so it was on a beautiful sunny February day when we decided to hit the trails for the first time this year. A rather late snowfall has visited Vancouver mid-February so skiers and snowshoers have been congesting the more popular Cypress and Seymour trails. As one not too fond of crowded hike spots, we opted to check out what lesser-known North Vancouver trails would lead us. And we were not disappointed.
Featuring Kaidu, the Siberian Husky, and Kojin, the dachschund, it was a delightful intermediate hike to loosen those taut muscles for more challenging hikes this 2019, I hope. 🙂
I thought I was smart enough to be able to teach my dogs, “Sit, paw, kiss mommy.” Unknowingly, they have been teaching me far more valuable lessons you wouldn’t expect to glean from someone who cannot utter a coherent syllable. Not unless of course it is a husky who is an expert in sassing. “Woo yoo woomoon!”
Show gratitude. When given a treat, wag your tail. Lick your owner’s hand. Let them realize you appreciate the gesture and the thought. Return kindness in however way you can.
Don’t live life at a breakneck speed. Stop and smell the leaves. Every damn leaf. Be in the moment. Take time to enjoy the simple pleasures.
Be silly. Chase your own tail. Get scared by your own farts. Fight with a lemon. Not everything needs to make sense.
Be compassionate. We might not understand the intricate workings of human behaviors but we sense these emotions and we react accordingly. We know that our warm, furry presence beside them draws out these happy hormones. Be kind, just because.
Interact. Connect. Bark your hellos to those you meet along the way. Hold your hands up, or paws, for a high five. Even a shy smile can mean a rainbow to someone.
It’s okay not to be okay. There are days when even an enticing game of tug is not enough to keep us bouncing off our feet. We have our moments too when we just want to be in our little, dark corner. Not every moment is unicorns and butterflies, and that’s perfectly alright.
Some, if not most things, are worth the wait. We know our humans and we trust that they always come back. Waiting for them to open that door does not take away the enthusiasm we show whether the wait was for five minutes, five hours, or five years. It pays to be patient.
Be lazy. Being idle is not a sin. Take a nap on the couch. Wake up then nap some more. That body needs and deserves a rest. Indulge whenever you can.
Fear can be overcome with love. Even the most aggressive and frightful dogs can become tame and gentle. Letting go of insecurities and being open to receive love make this transformation possible.
Forgive. Even those who love us hurt us sometimes. But that’s okay, we should not hold grudges. We still smother them with love like there’s no tomorrow.
And probably the most important lesson would be to PLAY. Life is too short to not live in the moment. We might live it driven by different aspirations and pressures but there should always be time to play. Because this means that we genuinely care for ourselves. That we are mindful of fulfilling our ongoing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and moral developments. Play your way to happiness.
In loving memory of Cody, our fur baby with nine lives.
So my hooman turned a year older today. She’s convinced herself she’s still 21 so I’m letting her indulge in this fantasy. Just for today.
I know that for some reason, she was dreading the advent of this day. Who does that? I love birthdays! Most people love birthdays! But I guess she’s not most people.
I delight in birthdays because it means a cake, presents, and I’m treated like a boss. They give me a pass for chewing the couch or they hand me an extra rasher. For my mom though, she claims birthdays somehow make her wistful. These remind her of what ifs, of missed opportunities, of sky dives that never happened, and the worst decisions she’s made. Boy, it must be tough being a grown-up.
The pact she made with herself to Angelina Jolie herself a brown-eyed, freckly baby that doesn’t drool or gurgle when she turns 28 never came to fruition. She’s seen that age come and go but she ended up having me instead and this cheeky little bugger I call my younger brother. (We fart and barf, that’s a better deal methinks.) I know too that aside from us, she has devoted herself to other fur babies. Humans are strange. They don’t know what they want.
Kojin and I wanted to do something special for her today but the best we could manage was to refrain from having diarrhea and not give her another scar mark from excessive nipping and biting. We give her ‘ruff’ love.
Today she went about her daily grind. Three-hour commute back and forth to work. (She doesn’t drive. Too many fenders bent.) Nine-hour shift. Ten pages leafed through a 360-paged textbook. One lottery ticket and another scratch card that was not at all lucky. A conspicuous gray hair plucked from her black mane. One or two candles snuffed out.
She seemed chipper but she cried a little. She pondered why bliss for her age seems to be perpetually pursued. She says it’s a constant effort; that it needs to be chased. I don’t get her. I hound dragonflies and smelly butts, and these make me euphoric. It’s not that complicated. Maybe I ought to take her butt-a-chasin’ next time. Humans are weird. Especially women. Especially women her age.
She says she’ll start doing more favors for herself. Eat healthier, drink lesser. More adventures, less passiveness. More spontaneity, less routine. Be happier, and be impervious to people who make her feel otherwise.
So far she’s managed to turn herself into a flexitarian. Whatever that means. (I call it a cheating vegetarian.) She started running again and does these ridiculous squats that scrunch her face ugly. She can now sleep without having to watch those murder documentaries that she says lull her to oblivion. And she’s withdrawn from drinking soda (but she started drinking beer). She still enjoys her favorite pastime which is to have duets with herself. Cringe-worthy. I guess she’s getting there.
My brothers and I wish her the best today and all the days thereafter. I wish to see her cry lesser. It can get weird seeing her sob when she watches dogs or cats being rescued, or when she sees reruns of the Gladiator. She does say we raise her oxytocin levels when we let ourselves be cuddled. I should not begrudge her those hugs then. I hope she knows that despite constantly chastising herself for her inadequacies and falling short of expectations she’s set for herself, she’s our world. She makes us happy. Happy 21st woman!
Earlier this week, my people brought home this funny, brown fluff that I thought was another addition to my countless teethers. I was already grinding my teeth in anticipation when the thing moved! It moved! Like its little nose snuck out for a sniff and then its tail wagged! It has a tail!
I went ballistic! I did not know what to feel. All these new emotions came at once. I’ve never felt these before and my awesome brain was struggling to process them. I know excitement, (I always have that when my mommy comes home or when I smell bacon), that I could explain. But there were these other emotions that churned my insides and made my heart cry a little. They were anxiety and jealousy. I only came to learn and put these into definition when I had to process the reality that I was no longer the lone furball in the house.
My distress came from wondering whether my people were loving me less because why would they get another dog when they already have me? Jealousy of course was obvious. I admit my selfishness. I want all the undivided attention. I want my toys to myself. The treats to myself, my mommy and daddy to myself.
His name is Kokujin. He looks like half-a-dog and half-a-hotdog. But I think he’s more on the hotdog side. He is brown all over—from the fur, to the eyes, and the nose. My hoomans think he is the cutest thing on earth. They swoon over him and get so thrilled because he gives them lots of little licks and kisses. I don’t do cuddles. I don’t do kisses. But yes, I guess you could say he’s the daintiest little thing. I have to give that to him ungrudgingly. Too cute that my paws seem dangerously humongous when I give him a little tap on his back. This scares the wits out of my parents. Relax people, if I wanted him for lunch, I would have gobbled him up the moment you brought him home.
I know they always have the best intentions for me so I will have to trust them on this one. For now though I am trying to adjust. It’s weird having another dog’s bowl next to mine. Or that another dog is playing with my toys. I’ve outgrown most of my toys so I guess he could have them.
Sometimes he naps on my bed. I don’t know why he does that when they got him his own. Mostly though, he sleeps on my mom’s pillow. Tucked like the little baby that he is. I mean I sleep with my mom and dad every now and then but I scamper out when the room becomes unbearable because Daddy starts to snore or my mom throws her legs all over everyone. But this little dude can stay tucked all night long! So since they brought him home, no way am I giving up my spot at the foot of the bed! I’m staying here every single hour of every night, watching him like a hawk.
But you could say I am a lot more occupied, and yes, happier now. I have a playmate! I don’t get as bored as I did before. I only got to play with other dogs when we take walks or when I was still going to school. Other than those, it’s only my people that I pester. Now Kojin is here. He is not as agile as me but he is surprisingly speedy even with those pudgy little legs of his.
Well so long as my mom does not give him a rasher more of the bacon than she does for me, I guess we can work things out. The thought of being an older bro is somewhat cool. And I am getting attached to him already. Till then, I have some butt-chasing to do.
Hi, my name is Kaidu. My parents call me tons of different names that often sound gibberish like Kai, Kaiditu, Jigglybums, Kaiduchan, Kaidupootpootand so on. But my personal favorites are Big Boy and the Boss. I just turned nine months sometime ago which is like nine years old in hooman years for my breed according to Pedigree’s dog age conversion thingy. I got to know my hoomans when I was just 10 weeks old and that was when life and my awesomeness started!
I’m still very young but I have big dreams because I am ambitious like that. One of them is to be famous like Zayn Malik or that dog-writer, Ziggy, on Barkpost. I know I can be for a lot of reasons. For one, I have the pipes. Music is a huge thing in my household and every time my dad pulls out his guitar, I know that’s a cue for me to howl out the tunes that I composed myself. Mommy joins in every now and then but I always try to make my singing louder because she kinda sucks. I mean, I love my mom to death because there’s a lot to love about her. Like she always sneaks in slices of bacon under the table when daddy’s not looking, she spoon feeds me without complaints when I suddenly decide to be lazy, she giggles uncontrollably at my farts, but her singing is just awful! And when she decides to dance while she is singing, it’s just cringe-worthy. I go inside my crate, bum towards her.
Well I decided to start writing because I get bored sometimes and I want an outlet for my pent up energy. I want to keep on running and frolic nonstop on that white thing people call snow. I want to dig stuff and chew on wood. But I understand why these cannot be an everyday thing. My pawrents need to go to this place where dogs like me are not allowed. They work there so they could bring home treats, raw hides, and those countless fluffy stuff that don’t last very long under my teeth. I understand that so it’s okay if they say goodbye because I know they always come back when it gets dark. That’s the best part of my days–when they come home and I jump at them like I haven’t seen them in ages. In the meantime, I will write. My mom thinks she’s so smart that only she can access this blog but I figured out her password so that makes me smarter.
The past few days were not the best. I am wearing this cone again because I can’t stop chewing off my hair. I had to go revisit the big man who squeezed something in my butt before. It was awful and downright shameful to have someone poke my behind but Daddy said it was for my own good. Now the big guy did it again and I overheard him say that one reason why I seem to find my hair so palatable is that I have an allergy of some sort. Now that means they’re putting a stop on my little hooman food treats which are always so tasty. It also means only food that are hypo-allergenic (new food always gives me diarrhea, ugh), new shampoo, no this, no that. I don’t like visiting the big guy. Uh-uh. Not unless ladies are there to visit too. Like this Lady Bulldog, Penny, she was beautiful. We sniffed each other. And I think I am crushing on this receptionist, Lora. I think she likes me too.
I like getting into these rides with Mom and Dad but not all outings are fun. I remember before when Dad and my Uncle took me to this clinic that I used to visit a lot when I was younger. I thought it was the usual little prick they always did on my back but this time they did something much more! They took away my two thingamajigs that I used to lick till they glistened! I thought I could never forgive my people for that but I realized nothing they do will make me ever hate them.
This is my daddy. He’s awesome.
This is my mommy. She’s awesomerrr! (Yes, the word exists in dog speak.)
So anyway, now I am on a strict diet with this tasteless food and no sirree!!! I am keeping my jaws shut till they give me the good stuff. Let’s see who gives in. In the meantime, I see my mom prancing around like it’s the end of the world. She’s trying to come up with all these ludicrous ideas on how to shove these antibiotics down my gullet to stop my infatuation with my fur. Like I said, she thinks she’s smart but I am smarter.
This is Kaidu. He’s a six-month old, snarky bi-eyed Siberian Husky who has unwittingly taught us how to save—or not.
We got him when he was just 10 weeks old. He cost an arm and both legs so I believe to start with, he put a huge dent on my credit that would in turn restrict me from doing shopping of any sort for myself for a decade or so. Moreover, as doting, hungry new ‘pawrents’, we mindlessly shopped for dog paraphernalia–dog beds, bowls and bottles, leashes, collars, shampoos and sprays, carpet cleaners, deodorizers, puppy-proofs, how-to-books, a basketful of toys, kibbles and treats, multi-flavored dog food, more toys. Not to mention vaccines, neutering and microchips. That means another 10 years on top of that other no-shopping restriction for a decade.
It may be difficult for some to fathom how people can splurge on a non-hooman. But like deciding to have a baby, getting a dog to be a part of our little family was a decision that was mulled over for the longest time. (Who am I kidding? I did it in a split second once I saw those naughty bandit eyes!) Thing is, if other women find shopping or the spa therapeutic, I find my crazy bliss in a furry friend.
This fiery little fellow has been a constant destressor. True, he’s more than a handful. If he decides to be a raving maniac, that switch button of his can stay turned on for a long time. For the most part though, he has not failed in being the bouncing hairy bundle of joy that I’ve been missing since I left my other shaggy non-hoomans back home.
To say that Kaidu has been chomping on a huge part of my budget would be snarl-worthy. This little menace has in fact fortuitously versed us to cut on our spending. We ungrudgingly gave up the impractical pleasures that we used to often indulge in before he became a part of the household. A ruffian such as him made us readily sacrifice the cheap thrills of extravagance.
I can’t remember the last time I visited the mall to gratify myself with an unnecessary purchase. We’ve totally ruled out the guilty treats of eating out. Whatever meal we’re missing from a favorite joint has been recreated, albeit painstakingly, in our own kitchen. We can barely remember the last time we watched a movie in the cinema. We’ve learned to make do with new releases from Netflix. And since his teething and mouthing does not allow us to have nice stuff for the house, bargain goods are our best bets. No he has not made us cheapskates, he has taught us to be practical.
Since he came, the priority was to be home the soonest. Days off work were automatically programmed to be Kaidu days as well. His arrival has evoked more financial thoughtfulness on our end. To be enticed to spend on something we wish but don’t necessarily need has become out of the question. So yes, in a way he is indeed teaching us to be more economical. And to end this little salutation for our dog, I’m going to give him a treat, or two. 🙂