Accepting Yourself: Your powdered sugar nose is just perfect.

We were really adorable when we were puppies (as all puppies are), and as we’ve grown up, we’ve just gotten better and better. We have the wisdom that time brings in our eyes and have earned our powdered sugar noses. We’re confident in who we are and don’t let the fact that we’re getting a day older dim that conviction. We still have a lot of room in our hearts for love. Plus, Mom tells us every day that we’re beautiful and handsome inside and out, no matter what. The Dog to Human Translation: Just because you have a little gray in your hair or a wrinkle by your eyes doesn’t mean you’re any less beautiful. Those things are just your surface and don’t define who you are or showcase your true beauty. Your beauty shines from within – from your spirit, from your personality, from your soul. Age brings wisdom and confidence and that’s one of the most beautiful things you can have. If there is something that you consider to be a flaw, take a good hard look in the mirror and recognize how those “flaws” combine to form your unique beauty. Embrace your “flaws” because you know what? They’re not flaws. They’re stepping stones on a beautiful path to accepting who you are as a complete...

Lessons from a K-9 Officer

Different types of service dogs fascinate me. Police and military dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, prison dogs. The relationships these dogs have with their humans are different and ones that I don’t know about from first-hand experience. As I continue to work on my Dogs Know Best journey, I knew I wanted to learn more about these amazing dogs and the different relationships they have with their humans. My hometown of Stow, Ohio, has three K-9 officers in the police department, so I thought it would be a great place to start my exploration. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with K-9 Officer Ted Bell, a 15-year K-9 officer in the department, and his partner, Mingo. Mingo is Officer Bell’s third K-9 partner, and as you can imagine, he had some amazing stories to share. Officer Bell was extremely generous with his time, spending nearly two hours with me, telling stories of his partners over the years, Bruno, Nero and now Mingo. He shared his scrapbooks that documented their life together, catching bad guys and keeping our city safe. Most importantly, he took the time to explain – at times as best he could – the unique relationship that a K-9 officer has with his four-legged partner. I added “as best he could” because at points there just weren’t the words to express the bond they share. More on that in a minute. Officer Bell took me through the process of how the department gets a K-9 officer, in fact explaining how their vendor, Von der Haus Gill German Shepherds in Wapakoneta, OH, get their dogs from...

How Did Dogs Know Best Happen?

Where Did the Idea for Dogs Know Best Come From? A lot of you may be wondering how Dogs Know Best came about. It’s not your typical dog story book. Like many dog-related books, it is about a relationship with my dogs, but it’s more than that. Dogs Know Best is my love letter to my two senior German Shorthaired Pointers. It is a thank you to them for all the things they have taught me, and continue to teach me each and every day. I spend a LOT of time with my dogs, they are my constant companions. I knew there was a story in there somewhere, but honestly, there’s nothing fancy or unusual about our story. We live a quiet life somewhere between the city and the country, almost on the edge of a national park. We go to the store, we go for walks. They hang out while I work, they play. They are in a routine, with meal times and bedtime happening at just about the same point every day. So the story of Dogs Know Best just happened. It happened quietly, like our life. It didn’t come with a big bang, it didn’t come with a lot of ceremony. It was a simmering thought, the lessons coming to me as we would be out on our walks (which is when I do my best thinking and brainstorming). Pointers have a reputation for being energetic, nutty “handfulls.” Just ask anyone who has ever shared their life with a Pointer and they will quickly agree. Words like “stubborn,” “strong-willed,” “too smart for their own good,” “balls...

Simple Happiness: Warm Your Belly in the Sun

We both love laying outside on a warm day, basking in the sunshine. If it’s too cold to go outside, we’ll find a sun spot inside for our nap. Many years ago our Mom found a doggie door that we could use to go out on the deck by ourselves. It is in the big screen door, so it has to be a pretty nice day for us to be able to use it. If the door is closed because it’s too cold or too hot, we’ll ask Mom or Dad over and over again to go outside. We’ll lie in the sun until we get too hot, then go back inside to cool off before wanting to go out again (Mom says this is why she got us our own door, so we didn’t always have to ask). It’s a time for us to nap, smell the air around us, and listen to the birds and sounds of our neighborhood. In summer, I love going out and stalking and snapping at those big wood-boring bees, but Bimmer doesn’t like them because they make a loud buzzing sound and when he sees or hears me snap at one, he runs back inside to find a different sun spot to lay in. It’s almost like the bee and I are playing a game of chase, sometimes for an hour at a time. Unfortunately for the bee, at least a few times a year I actually catch one, but another one always shows up to continue the game. (You’ll learn about the bee another time.) When it’s cold outside, we’ll find a sun spot...

Earth Day Advice: Clean Up Your Neighborhood

If you see a mess, clean it up! We do our part to keep our neighborhood clean. This is something we do every day, not just on Earth Day. Bertram is especially great at doing this, but I sometimes get involved. Here’s how it goes. When we’re out on a walk, Bertram will pick up and bring home empty water bottles or empty paper cups that other people threw away. She doesn’t like styrofoam or cans, but paper and plastic are ideal. She’s done this since she was a puppy. The first time she did it she was about six months old and we were out for a long walk in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on a Sunday morning. Right when we were starting out, Bertram found an empty plastic water bottle on the side of the trail. She picked it up and wouldn’t let go! Mom and Dad tried to make her give it up because we were just starting out for a long hike, but she refused. She ended up carrying it during the entire walk, even earning a compliment from a Park Ranger on her efforts to clean up the trail. Twelve years later, she’s still helping clean up her neighborhood and trails. We’ve both gotten smart, though. Now, we’ll only give up a treasure in exchange for a treat! The Dog to Human Translation: If you see garbage laying around when you’re out and about, pick it up and throw it out. It doesn’t matter if it’s not yours; we’re all stewards of our trails and neighborhoods. Enough said on that...