And Back Again

Life is a story

I am very excited to say that my second novel And Back Again is now available.  Over three years ago a huge life challenge was put before us.  For those of you who read 'PBJ and me' you know what my 21 year old (at the time) son Brad and I went through on our road trip from California to Connecticut with our four dogs.  And Back Again is the continuation of our story; starting from the first full day at our destination.  It was an emotional time for everyone involved and over the months of writing and re-writing and reading, reading, reading it was emotional. 

The book covers both canine and human behavior with regards to life challenges.  I wrote the story in hopes that it might help someone. Perhaps dealing with canine behavior issues, maybe a dog who is growing old, life change or general life challenges.  I still look back and shudder at much of it, and am forever changed.  

It is a crazy story but it is mine.  I lived it and can now look back at it as quite the experience.  The story picks up where PBJ and me left off.  We had just landed in Connecticut after a grueling 6 day drive across the country from sunny California.  Much would be dealt with in the following months.  A strange environment, a new home, the loss of our most senior canine pack member and a new life all lay ahead of us. 

And Back Again - also available on Amazon. And Back Again will also be available in ebook shortly.  I will post it on my Just dogs with Sherri Facebook when it is available.  

I had a wonderful editor (Emily Smith) for my book; one that I just stumbled upon in Vegas, oddly enough.  She is amazing and really pushed me to bring more to the story.  Sometimes just one question from her would bring up a whole plethora of memories; ones that had seemed in the big picture, minor at the time. 

I hope that if you read the book, you enjoy it.  Life is a story

Leave a comment, I love to hear from you

Seeing a nice change in the old guy.

I am really seeing a difference in my old man.  For those of you who do not know Luke, he will be 14 years young in August. Since the addition of smelt into Luke and Elsa's diet, I like what I see.  This is truly the first time that I can actually see the difference.  I have noticed something different, a spring that was once gone has now returned.  A glimmer in his eye and a general overall lift.  As someone who is constantly aware of infinitesimal behavior, it is huge.  Every step, turn of the head or hop onto the couch can mean something when it is different, slower or strained.  What I'm seeing is ease.

Food is what makes us and our dogs tick.  You are what you eat as they say; the same goes for our dogs.  What goes in will result in how our dogs feel and act.  As far as nutrition is concerned, I do the best that I can for my dogs.  I try to feed a real food diet to them as much as possible; I am constantly researching nutrition and try to learn what I can.  The problem with most of today's dog food diets is that it is overly processed food; taking all the nutrients out of the product.  That and the fact that many of the foods start out with low grade quality ingredients. 

I am a fan of whole foods so the idea of giving my guys a little fish each day appealed to me.  Now that I am seeing a big difference in Luke, I'm sold.  There is so much information out there on what we should and should not feed our dogs; it can be mind boggling to say the least.  You will get information from every direction possible.  Big dog food companies will sell you stuff in the shape of fish, chicken and veggies; telling you that it contains all of those things.  But how about just feeding fish, chicken and veggies in their real form?  Processing damages nutrients.

I am not telling anyone what they should or should not feed their dogs.  What I do is share what I like and learn, take it or leave it.  Since the addition of these dehydrated smelt from Bahia-Blue; we have noticed a marked improvement with Luke.  As far as I'm concerned that proof is in the pudding.  I am not a fan of vitamins in pill form; I'd much rather eat and feed my dogs vitamins in whole food form.  The less processing the better when it comes to nutrition. 

A bit of a problem routine

I felt the nudge on my left arm and reached down to feel who it was.  It is the spot where both Luke and Elsa go to talk to me when I am on my computer.  I was writing but Elsa had other plans as she continued to nudge.  I rub her head and applied an ample amount of kisses hoping that it would suffice, nope.  She stood staring, trying very hard to drill her message into my head.  I got it, I knew what she wanted but it's becoming a bit of a problem routine.  For some dogs like Miss Elsa, steadfast routine can become a problem.  Do something the same for a couple of days in a row and your sunk.  So Elsa thinks that around 4:00 pm that I stop working and go out to play.  It is a good time to do her ball tossing as it is usually cooling off; and it gives her a good amount of time to cool down before eating her dinner, BUT. 

I don't like problem routines.  Nothing should be so cast in stone that you cannot function until that activity is performed.   Structure is good, routine, not always.  Some dogs do well with routine but when it starts to become a problem routine; when the dog starts running the show, it needs to change.  Switch it up, after all we run the show right?  (grinning)  I love giving Elsa what she wants but it has to be when I say, not when she bugs me so much that I cave.  I enjoy flexibility in our day; I do not want the ball telling me what and when I have to do something.

It is true, Elsa loves her ball; she loves most balls but her XL orange squeaky Kong tennis ball is her absolute favorite.  It sits on the shelf in the yard and there it stays until I say so.  Today that ball will move; find a new place to live while not being chased or carried around by Elsa.  Then again in a few days more it will have to find another place to live.  Our "ball" time is also going to change; perhaps we will skip today and do something else, maybe work on the skateboard.  But it is changing, I don't like a problem routine.  Tomorrow we will do some retrieving with another toy, perhaps the ever favorite green football thing that Penny loves so much. 

Many dogs do great with routine; it can offer them stability in life, help them get through their day.  Then there are others who need their routine constantly undone.  A routine can put a dog like Elsa in overdrive; always anxious while awaiting the next routine moment.  So then it must be switched up; throw a wrench into the routine.  Routine, schmoutine; who needs it? 

Dogs who are constantly demanding, often have too much routine in their life.  Of course like I said already, some are fine with routine; they are all individuals remember.  Know your dog, know yourself and build your life together accordingly.  For Elsa and I, we need a freestyle type day to day. 

Feeding time, change it up

Bone all clean, time for the rest of breakfast.

After bones on Saturday morning, Luke and Elsa had their breakfast from a fork.  They'd both had a good amount of meat off of their raw meaty bones and just needed a little something else.  I grabbed a fork and a can of dog food that I keep on hand.   It is normal for Luke to not want food after he has a meaty bone; sort of like when we eat too many appetizers and then don't want dinner.  He has his hunger quenched and doesn't see any reason to eat further.  So I thought I'd switch it up.  Changing things is good with dogs; too much same ole can really get you into trouble.  But Luke sometimes doesn't like change.  He likes his things in place and on time; so he needs to have it changed up even more so. 

Elsa is good with change; as long as I am clear about the rules of change she always "gets it."  Luke is a fussy pants so it can take some work to make him feel comfortable enough to accept change.  I brought the can out and sat on the double lounge.  Elsa was there in a flash and more than happy to eat out of a can.  Luke, not so much.  He turned his head when I tried to offer him some food.  "I've eaten, what is this?" his body language said.  I continued to feed Elsa and offered some to Luke between her bites.  Luke also likes baby bites, at least to start with.  If you offer him a big chunk of anything; there is no way you'll get him to eat it.  Along with tiny pieces, it also helps if you tell him it is a "baby bite."  Yep, he likes to hear about it first; then if he hears that it is a baby bite, he will try. 

Once you finally get that first "baby bite," into him he's good to go.  But it is that first initial piece that is the toughest.  He is very clear on how he will and will not accept change.  He is the funniest guy; when he is done eating he simply leaves.  He turns on a dime and walks out of the room.  I have explained to his sitter that the normal coaxing to eat type methods will NEVER work for him.  He is who is he and that is Luke.  So being that he likes what he likes, where he likes it; it is essentially  important to do different with him and all dogs for that matter. 

Luke and Elsa eat inside and they eat outside.  Sometimes they have treats midday on the grass; sometimes it's in the evening downstairs on the couch.  Changing where and when you feed your dog is really a great thing to implement.  If you have a fussy dog that is hard to feed under normal situations; imagine trying to get him to eat on a road trip?  If you had to stay at someone else's home for several days; what if your dog wouldn't eat? 

I am easily bored by routine, I like to switch things up.  So switching up feeding times is easy for me to implement.  I think it is good for everyone involved to change it up.  Change not only goes for time and place; it should also be about what you are feeding.  Do you pour the same old food in the same bowl every day?  Variety, more about that in another blog.