Cows.

My fingers were frozen. It was 24 degrees and I was gripping a flag to help usher cows down the alley. It was cold for the middle of October. It should have snowed, it would have made me feel better.

There we were sending our cows down the alley at 7 am to our vet to let us know who was having more babies and who was not ( or who got with the neighbors bull).

I danced in place and felt better about life when I was moving.

The temperature didn’t rise and by noon we were all frozen and ready to call it a day. We trailed them to the pasture and dumped them off.

Dad on Blueberry

Ranch life is not glamorous and being women in a man’s world sets it’s own sets of issues.

My sister and I have been our dad’s hired hands our whole lives. We have been on the back of horse and in the middle of a pasture most of our lives. Funny enough our dad still will pair us up and send us off together; and still repeats directions every time. No we don’t go up every goat trail he does, which is why a man in his 60s still gets pissed at us and still says things like “ don’t worry about your horse, he can do it.” Which is true; but even some days my Steady Eddie Nuisance stops and asks me if I’m serious.

However, we learned to sort cows and we learned to look for a calf drooping. We also learned to shut a gate and open it in the same yell.

I am still out of practice every time we ride because I’m not out in it every day. I also don’t know every cow because I’m not looking at them every day. That comes from having to have a full time day job to supplement my full time cow hobby.

There’s a lot to be said about a beautiful day of riding. That’s easy. When the sun is shining and the wind is at your back. You get to look around at God’s Country and think about how blessed your life is to be on a back of a horse.

Women in agriculture is on the rise. There are more women taking ownership of the land and becoming stewards for the brand. Women have always taken an active part in the leadership and running of the land; whether they have been recognized or not. If I stop to think about all the times my Great Grandma had re-arrange her day according to when her husband would take coffee breaks or need a meal out in the field; it blows my mind. And she kept a house so clean you could eat off the floor. My mom has often been doing one thing and had to drop it to go help my dad either move a tractor, bring him a vehicle, take him lunch or be the gate opener.

This time of the year is when our year officially starts over. Our calves have been shipped and we have gone through our cattle to see who needs to go, so we can replace. My sister and I are learning as we go and our wild bunch of 3 year olds didn’t do too badly this year; so we are pensively hopeful they will do just as well this coming year. We will pay our bills, pay for grass and pay for hay.

T on Little Sis with Sophie

And as I watch the snow fly today I realize this winter won’t be easy and there will be a lot of cold days. A lot day of spinning out of a frozen cow poop. More days of remembering to bring cake ( cow feed) for our favorites like 809, Biscuit and white tag. Cows are a curious sort and most of the time will sniff my neck while I cut the twine on a round bale. They also know when it’s my dad feeding them or when it’s the girls. They become impatient and demanding. We are slower. We tell this to them every year; but on those really nice days it’s nice to just turn off the pick up and sit with them for a minute.

So when you buy that delicious steak and cook it to perfection (just not well done!); remember there are hard working men and women who don’t get a day off, who worry about their animals daily, who spend a great deal away from their families, and who do their very best to feed America.

https://www.usda.gov/our-agency/initiatives/women-agriculture

For even more information please visit Sustainabledish.com

Distracted.

I watched the dogs bound across the yard after the ball. SoSo hates coming in last. Grace isn’t as speedy as she once was; but her competitive edge is still there and she cheats a little. Grace stands in the middle of the yard and waits for the throw, while Soso sits in front of me. She’s the puppy so her manners need to be ingrained now before at age 7 I let her slack. I release the ball and watch SoSo fly to were her keen eye sight watched it go. She didn’t count on bounce and roll; Grace uses that to her advantage and snags the ball. I can see the look on SoSo’s face. She looks at me to Grace in disbelief before spotting a cat laying in the sun and trots over to see her. Grace meanwhile takes her victory lap around me wagging her tail.

SoSo’s distraction is easy enough to explain. She’s a puppy. A toddler really and everything is new and exciting. She hates to be by herself but loves to be outside. She’s easily distracted by the newest shiniest toy.

Me. I start thinking about this blog a week in advance. I start thinking about what is on my brain and some days I almost have a glimpse of an idea before it flits away. I know I need to spend more time writing; if it’s really my passion or hobby. I need to carve out and devote time to the ideas in my mind. I also need to finish at least two projects I have started. But then….

I open my phone with the purpose of catching an idea and entering it before it fades away when my fingers automatically find that little square and I push open. I am scrolling and scrolling. I scan a snippet of information or see a friend’s post where the rant is on and heated. Some days I give into the temptation to add my voice to the fray; and when the name calling starts and the self righteous indignation starts I am out.

It’s all a distraction. No one is getting their mind changed because I voiced my opinion on a subject. I have been “unfriended” and I have “unfriended.” I don’t check my numbers because really who cares. In the year of fake news; none of it matters.

It’s all a distraction.

I get caught up by matters that don’t matter. I waste time getting mad over petty things I see on tv/social media when I could be reading. I could be writing. I could be writing this blog and another so that I don’t put off the weekly panic of not knowing what to write. Or talking myself out of it because who is really listening anyway.

Then I remember that I didn’t start out writing as a 12 year old girl because I was doing it please anyone. I was doing it because the voices in my head were characters begging to get out. They had stories and some of them were short. To this day, I can write out a quick short story about someone because that muse was so loud it had to be let out. My distraction comes in when I get into the middle of the story and I have to figure out how to get out, so I stop writing and end of scribbling notes on paper about where I should be going with the story.

I am distracted.

So while you are arguing with your friends about who is right and who is better; remember why you are friends in the first place. If we didn’t have differences as people; it would boring. I don’t want to be friends with someone who is exactly like me. I need balance. So do you.

We don’t need more distractions. We need to remember we are all humans having a human experience. Some days, like with Sophie, we need to be guided back to the truest part of our soul and remember at the end of the day sunshine, the wind blowing and a good game of fetch is the best distraction out there.

Sleep.

Some nights are great. I get my routine done and into bed by my pre-set bedtime. Other nights, like tonight, I decide it would be a good idea to try to have a conversation with my very hormonal teenage daughter.

I’m pretty certain I could write a book on How to Fuck up your child 101. I was told however, that I should not give myself that much credit.

I am not the best at giving loving, giving, heart felt advice. As my Popi once said, “if you looking for sympathy, try the dictionary between shit and syphylus.” My emotions tend to hover between stoic silence, anger crying and delirium.

I wasn’t the most outgoing teenager either. I had maybe two friends and some how still got used and abused. I didn’t fit in and still really don’t most days. I’m older now so that ship has sailed whether I give a shit.

So here I am sitting on my teenage daughters bed giving her the worst pep talk of her life. No really, if this was a movie this would be the scene where she did something rebellious with her friends like steal a car or run over prom date. She sobbing. Of course she is. Once a month the female species loses their minds. Still doesn’t excuse my shit pep talk.

Maybe it’s from being an only child brought into the world by two people who never really got their shit together. We weren’t drug addicts or child abusers; so really in the scheme of things we did okay. I felt I was a single mom before and after the relationship.

I was paralyzed by anxiety. I had a lot shit to unpack from being in an unhealthy situation and how I got there. I didn’t get a full time job because I worried about being away from my daughter, so I worked two part time jobs. That makes sense right? Anxiety and being in an unhealthy relationship made my brain do weird things, like hesitation on making decisions. The funny part is I made it though 1 year of dental assisting school while my personal life was a complete disaster. I mean going to school after having been tossed across a room 15 minutes before kind of mess. So I get her anxiety. I see it. It’s tangible and real.

I have worked on my personal shit through therapy, personal development, Pendleton whisky, and work outs. And I have a ton of empathy for that fear and out of control feeling; but, girl pull your shit together.

Easy for me to say. Years of coming to terms with my own bullshit and straight forward friends who saw me and set me straight every time I went into the ditch.

So I sat on her bed, watched her cry and I hugged her. I held her and I told her she was capable of so much more then this fear was allowing her to see. I held her and told her that she was so afraid of not being in control she was losing the magic of now.

I should probably take my own advice on some things.

And then at the end of this shit pep talk where I said everything wrong she wiped her nose and looked at me and said, “ I didn’t know I was letting my fear get in the way of every thing. I don’t think I have bad anxiety because I don’t feel it every day. So thank you.”

That’s how I know I don’t deserve a kid as wonderful as she is. Because she found a rainbow in the middle of a mess.

I think my sister was right when she said we would make better ‘80s moms: minus the tab and cigarettes.

The title of my book will be called How to drive it out of the ditch: a parents guide.

Don’t worry, she’s seeing a therapist.

*If you are having issues with dealings of life, please seek help. You’d be amazed at how many people need to hear your story.*

Hero.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Weezer lately. By a lot I mean two songs have me playing them on repeat. Mr. Blue Sky and Hero. Go find them and push play. I’ll wait. Mr. Blue Sky is on the Teal album also originally done by ELO; it also plays during the little fight scene in Guardians of Galaxy part 2 as baby Groot dances around.

Everybody needs a hero. Don’t they? I mean I have one. It’s me. No really. Well, it’s actually Mess. She is me and I am her. She’s evolving a little more every day. Mess use to be around because I was a complete Mess. I drank too much, stayed out too late and; well, I had too much fun.

Mess was also who I called upon when I needed to feel a little extra bravery. I felt that I couldn’t handle it, but Mess would be fine. I know what you’re thinking; isn’t that called multi-personality disorder. No, it’s not. I looked it up. Plus I only have two. We are more like twins. Twins with anger issues and a love for whiskey.

It’s funny how we see ourselves versus what is put out into the world. I am not as forward as I could be, I don’t always speak my mind and I am pretty reserved with my feelings. And then I sometimes listen to the words coming out of my mouth and think none of that is true. I speak my mind a lot more than I probably should. The funny thing is I honestly don’t understand why the things I am saying are so shocking. Some of them I know the rest of the people at the table are thinking. I just happen to be saying them. Not all heroes wear capes.

I don’t wear a cape. If you watched The Incredibles you know why.

Most importantly Mess shows up to remind me who I am. On days I am tired, I have prayed about it and just continue to be in denial that it’s more than just some sleep I need; Mess shows up. When I am tired that’s the most important time for me to get my mind set back on track. Those negative thought can easily pull up a chair and the Devil will start to play the Greatest Failures thus far part one. Mess is the Guardian Angel in my head. She shows up in ripped jean, a bad ass Joan Jett t-shirt and black boots. I picture her hair blowing in the wind like one of those really cool slow motion movie fans. Making her seem all bad ass and we both start to squint a little. Mostly because we cannot believe we are listening let along believing half the shit we think.

So when I’m tired and life is particularly rough for a number of reasons that can vary; I remember I am my own Hero of this story and the only one who can pull me out of this funk is me.

Well, everybody needs a hero, but I’m not everybody else
I walk alone, yeah, I walk alone, yeah, I walk alone, oh, yeah

Some days that looks like Pendleton and 7up. Some days that looks like a good cry or a nice bubble bath (with every animal I have outside the door wondering why they can’t come in); but most days it looks like me looking myself in the eyes and reminding myself that I love me , I love this life, and I am pretty bad ass.

Mess is more self help these days. We have turned to work outs to get rid of all the anger so most of the snark isn’t there or a podcast because we sees the value of improving our brain.

We all have to be our own hero; otherwise, we are just a damsel in distress waiting on some one else to save us.

Not all heroes wear capes.

My manager’s slacking so I gotta’ move quick
I’m lacking in natural gifts
I’m an ugly motherfucker but I work hella’ harder
And you can write a blog about it

Self.

My alarm went off at the usual time.  I hit snooze. I just want five more minutes. The rest of my house senses the change in breathing and they are all ready for the day to get started.

 No not any of the humans in my house. They both snore peacefully. Not even stirring at the excitement of everyone else happy to see me upright.  

The animals in my house. They know it’s time for food.  I stepped back from my sweat session in my basement for a walk about with Grace and our new puppy Sophie.

Sophie is a Border Collie mix and around 6 months old. I hope someday she will save me from my sister sitting on horseback yelling the same thing into the trees, “I see you, you #$%* cow. I sure could use a dog about now!” This is what I have heard for over a year! A year sitting on a horse yelling at cows who are standing behind a tree. I bet you didn’t know cows played statues? Well they do. Now we have Sophie. She is not a part of my self care routine; but she is an added bonus. I know Grace would sleep the day away and be happy with some fetch; but Sophie. Sophie will dig or rearrange plants in their pots without a little extra exercise.

She is my only motivating factor to getting up.
My self care routine is in the toilet. I am tired. No, I am exhausted. I can’t tell if it’s from stress of the world or boredom. This list of things to do or not do gets longer. The list of things to pray about gets longer as well because I learned that lesson. You can either pray or worry but you can’t do both. 


How’s your self care routine? 


Recently our school board in our local community voted to send our children (grades 3-12) back to school twice a day for in school service and 3 days a week on line. Now for a single mom and a working mom; this is less than ideal. The worry about my child and her ability to manage her time is real. I am blessed to have family around me to help fill in these gaps. The schedule will come. Is this permanent? No. This too shall pass. My attitude about it will ensure an easier transition.

I can either worry or pray; but I can’t do both.


I have a planner. I work towards these big ambitious goals. I write them all down with a pretty felt pen. Last night I looked at my goals and reworked them. I reversed engineered them down to the easiest of tasks. My goal was something big and lofty like becoming a multi millionaire in ten easy steps ( not really but you get the idea) and I brought it all the way down to: Go to bed at 9:30 pm. Period.

This is my new 30 day push goal. How simple. I have a before bed time routine which includes letting the dogs out, making sure the puppy does her business, letting the dogs in, making sure all the lights are off and the doors are locked; remind my kid she has to brush her teeth and wash her face (that is when she is not showering/or taking a bubble bath for hours), and to finally brush my teeth and wash my face and….. The mom list is long. The me list is short. Get my ass in bed to read. That’s all I want to do. I want to crawl into bed and spend some time somewhere else. I was reading so much self- help it started to overwhelm me. So, I put those to the side and I focus. I read my daily devotional, put on some good smelling lotion, and get in bed. And then I sigh. I realize a lot of this I bring on myself. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders when it doesn’t have to be or that I am not being the best mom, girlfriend, friend, sister, or daughter I could be. So this week I gave myself a little grace to relax. To not work out as hard as I had been, because frankly; I think my body was craving a break; and to get back to basics. Sleep, drink my water, and take care of my mind. Walk over a mile with two dogs who are way too excited to be up and going for 6:30 am.

After all, nothing else will run right if I am not in a healthy place.  Some nights it looks like border collie, a chihuahua and a black cat all curled around me and a sweet Labrador snoring on the floor beside us.

We can either worry or pray; but we can’t do both.

Human.

Being a human in the world is a weird idea. You are born out of no where and thrust into a world where ideas and thoughts are forming and changing as you grow. Every part of your being depends on the life force around you that influences you. Think about it.


Take music. I love music. I am particularly drawn to rock. Not yelling metal. But good rock music. David Bowie, Huey Lewis and the News, AC/DC, Def Lepard. Clearly a child of the 80s. I grew up in a household that listened to mostly country music. Charlie Pride, Tom T Hall, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Keith Whitley. I do think there was an 8 track of the BeeGees in there. (If you don’t know what an 8 track is…..I am sorry for you and your childhood. Please go to google.) And then I discovered whole new ranges of music from swing to blues to classical. There are some human life forms walking around that don’t subscribe to music at all. I don’t know these creatures, but I am told they exist.

Half your life you struggle
Half your life you fly
Half your life makin’ trouble
Half your life makin’ it right
One day I’m the exception
Most days I’m just like most
Some days I’m headed in the right direction
And some days I ain’t even close

The point is this. Humans are all different. We grow up and we view the world through one lens until someone flips another in front of us. Asks us if we like lens A or B better. We haven’t looked through lens B before so some of us choose that path. That opens a whole new world to us.

I recently watched through the beauty of social media when someone made the statement of something along the line of “how do you know? you like in a small town.” That has stuck with me simply because the biased and entitled way it was said. I don’t know how to be a better human because I live in a smaller place than a bigger city? I don’t know how to treat strangers of every race of humanity with respect because I live in a smaller town? I will only agree with one point and that is living in a smaller place doesn’t expose us to every hateful, ignorant, entitled piece of conversation.
I use to say the same type of things. How do they know they have never left their home town? I have lived in different cities, they haven’t. How entitled and stuck up does that sound to you? I can also flip that around to say “How do you know? You’ve never lived in a big city?” And some of you haven’t ever left a big city.

Do you see what I am trying to say? Living in either place doesn’t make you a better human. BEING a better human any place you decide to be planted makes you a better human. Being a better human is a choice. And it’s not a choice. It shouldn’t be something that you have to decide. It should be I AM statement.

Because at the end of the day as my sister has said, “We are more alike than we are different.” We are all trying to raise children, pay our bills, take our dog for a walk, find a way to buy feed for cows and horses, find change to take the bus or buy milk. We are all trying to be better than we were yesterday. The message of who were are as HUMANS is getting lost in the noise of the YOU SHOULD.

Being human is complicated and it’s so fucking simple. Get up every single day and just put on the face of love. Lead with your heart’s fire. Lead with love. Try to listen through the lens of love. Try looking for the helpers. Actually….no, don’t try; DO!

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, jr.

Moment.

This has been a hard time for the recovering people pleaser in me. The world is on fire. The Empath in me feels too much.

What I’m saying is if I could politely tell you all to piss off while giving you a hug and saying I hope you’re not too mad: it would release a lot of my pent up anxiety.

I grind my jaw and I feel like I should be eating all the things.

Breathe.

Being an independent person in a world that wants me to conform is a hard task.

And trying to keep my positive mental state while in information overload is exhausting. Listening to all the podcasts and reading daily. If that’s not enough; just go on any social media outlet to be told I’m not understanding or strong or listening.

Last night I made some notes of how I want July to look. I can not control the world or even my world but I can restrict what I allow to continue. Negative energy is one thing that I can control. I might need more crystals. Maybe a moon water bath.

I am taking a social media break. It’s a system overload and I simply cannot be an active participant in it. I’m exhausted and I have a permanent headache from squinting trying to understand all the hate.

I am going to devote my mornings to me. If I can get up. I use to get up at 5 am. No matter what. I loved it. It was so much time to be alone with my thoughts and get my work out in. I had carved out my solitude. However, for about two months I cannot get up. It’s a struggle. I hit snooze until I’m frantically running around to get my work out in and shower. So, that alone tells me I have not been listening to my small still voice telling me repeatedly to take a break from the world.

I believe there are good, kind, strong people in this world. Right now the most hateful voices are the loudest. I’m trying to find the light and raise those positive and uplifting voices because God bless them; they never stop lifting us all up with their words.

It’s summer. It’s July. Our backyard is beautiful and so peaceful. It’s time to sing to my plants and spend more time out there. Sitting and swearing at bugs.

And maybe we should all do a little more of that and a little less of being entitled and self righteous on social media; the world might get back to being a better place.

For all of us.

Aussie.

Too much heavy in the world so I’m going to continue with my Dog Life Blog.

Animals really do teach you so much about life. And no one animal taught me more about tenacity than Andy.

I only had known one dog up until I was 16/17 years old. That was our Black and Tan Australian Shepherd named Coalie. Coalie was sweet and quiet. He was also all work horse and never allowed inside. One time we did try to coax him from the Frozen Tundra and he got as far as the mud room and decided that was too much. I can’t reach into my memory bank and tell you much about him because he was always just with our dad. Coalie also loved porcupines and I think he was sprayed by a skunk more than once.

Coalie passed away and got a puppy. The first puppy for my sister and I. This little red, shy and so scared puppy came into our lives. My sister and I were thrilled. we also mandated she stay in the house. I don’t know how she became Andy, but Andy she was.

Andy was a red Australian Shepherd. Aussies by nature are family only and cranky with strangers. They love a good job and are high energy. She was all of that and more. I don’t think this blip will do her justice. It’s hard to find words to explain such a fierce little fire cracker, and if you have been owned by an Aussie; you get it.

Puppyhood was an adventure. Andy turned from the shy puppy who was hiding behind a chair into a force of nature. It was like she was just waiting for a family to unwrap her super power.

She discovered things like bounding around the house at lightening speed and using a sofa as a launch pad. Somewhere we have hours of her on video tape; one where she eats an orange peel is favorite.

Andy was all red with a white stripe down her nose and her ears never matched; one was up and was always down. Her nose was light brown so we always had to put sunscreen on it or she would burn. Her love of fierce play was always front and center.

My mom had a long purple winter coat she would wear and at some point Andy had taken this coat as the trigger for play time. It seemed it didn’t matter who wore the coat; Andy would attack. Sneak attacks were popular with her as well the full speed launch off you like a rocket attack. Even after the purple coat died a natural death; we would go for walks and Andy would be a few yards ahead when she would turn and look at you. We always stopped and said “no Andy no!” She didn’t give a shit. She would take off and jump off of you and all you could do is brace for impact.

Now as I said Andy was an Australian Shepherd. They are happiest having a job. Cattle are their number one job and no dog loved that job more than Andy. She was stubborn and competitive. And once she knew what her job was, like trailing steers down a trail and letting more in as we dropped down, she would stay on that task. Of course there were times she didn’t listen. She was a dog and she was Andy. I can’t recall, though, her giving one single flying fuck about being scolded. I could be wrong. I have this really fond memory of her.

There was nothing more Andy loved than a cow not paying attention and going along with status quo. I think she bit a cow(s) on the nose more than once and that annoying little bite they do on the back of hoof. Oh she got kicked, she was rolled more than once by a cow or Bull that bested her when she was too cocky or a little slow. I can tell you this though; that dog never went down without a fight. She might yelp at the surprise or it hurt; but she got up mad. Like straight up pissed.

Andy was also fast and could spin on a dime. I know because I raced her on a four wheeler more than once. More than once I was thankful I was wearing boots because she would get right up next to me and get those little teeth right at my heel.

Man she was a bitch. She was a lover too. She was scared of thunderstorms and would hide in the deepest closet she could find.

Swimming was a favorite past time and she never passed a water hole without a swim. After all trailing cows all day is hard work.

I loved that dog. I miss her almost daily. We miss her especially when we are horse back and the cows hide in the trees. I miss her smiling at us and her ability to lay her head on a pillow and wait for someone to cover her up.

Andy was as soft as she was tough. She loved us all fiercely. Some day I hope we add another feisty puppy to the mix. Just so they can herd kids and growl at anyone who isn’t family; but most importantly get into the trees so I’m not off my horse yelling into trees looking for cows.

Kindness.

Rion hated water. She would run along the shore line and bark at her brother swimming carelessly in the ocean.

Tiber had been whining for miles. His nose out the window smelling the tide and it was all we could do to hold him back from running head long into the surf .

But not my Rottweiler. She stayed on the shore. Her four feet firmly planted on terrafirma.

I didn’t know I wanted or needed a Rottweiler until one was dumped in my lap.

Rion was around 5 months old when she was rescued. I paid my father in law $1 for her because he had a rule about not being able to come back at me and demand money. So there I was with two puppies roughly the same age and different personalities.

The only bad thing to happen to Tiber as a puppy is he was bit by a neighbor dog and had stitches in his lip. This changed his outlook on other dogs and life. It made him have a stress reaction. He would drool and become very anxious when faced with greeting other dogs. So picture in a world where you’re walking two large dogs and everyone wants to meet the Labrador because well it’s a Lab. They are always friendly. Right? Tiber’s anxiety would turn to panic about meeting other dogs; in turn would cause the other dog to react aggressive. Rion would stand stead fast and patiently wait. She would then show her brother how to greet other animals and that not everyone is was out to hurt him. She fastly became his protector.

Rion, on the other hand, came to me with too many issues. She didn’t trust humans not to harm her. I was never really sure of her history but at first she didn’t like to be touched, guarded her food and generally thought she was boss.

I still remember putting her on a leash and teaching her to come.

I gave a tug and the command “come.” Rion pulled back and growled. At me. I was a little stunned. And then she did it again. I then looked at her and realized she was a little unsure and needed me to be sure. I narrowed my eyes at her and growled “come.” This time she did with a confused look on her face and she got rewarded with a ton of affection.

From there Rion and started building a bond. Things got harder and easier for that little puppy. I read every book I could on dog training and Rottweilers; soon tug and fetch were apart of our training. I immersed in socializing. Any place she could go with me; she went. Anyone who said “she’s such a cute dog” was asked to pet her. She wasn’t vicious, just unsure about life.

At 1 year old my shy and food aggressive Rottweiler has turned into my best friend and Tiber’s as it would turn out. She never let me go for a walk without her being on guard. Rion would always sit between me and whatever perceived danger. That was her job and she did it well. No one got close to me without her allowing it. Although loud noises would cause her to hide behind my legs and peek out. We all can’t be tough all the time.

Rion had a bubbly personality. She loved playing and she loved meeting new friends.Her whole butt would wiggle with excitement and I would swear she would smile at you. She loved to play, and her farts would peel paint off a wall.

One day I had come home and they weren’t in their yard. That led to a panic because I had dog stolen after he got out and these were two dogs. One being a Rottweiler. I looked all over and called their names and drove around. When I got home, they were back in yard. I checked the fence, a board was loose and could be swung from side to side. I moved the board and on the other side was another Rottweiler staring back at me. Turns out down the hill was a lonely friend. Learning how to open gates is how they would escape. That and the fact Tiber could jump. He could jump so high you could see his head over an 8 foot fence, which is why I start calling him the Flying Chocolate Lab.

Lots of preconceived notions come with owning a Rottweiler. People would assume she was mean. They would assume she needed to bred or wear a tire around her neck to make her stronger(yes I had someone say that to me). What no one understood is behind her job to protect me and her family was her huge capacity to love and be kind to every creature she would meet. She would lay down on the ground if a dog was smaller to play. She also let a squirrel chew her out for her barking causing him to drop his prize nut. Yes she sat and looked up him while he went on rant. I think she was as confused as I was while watching it.

One thing I didn’t realize with Rion is that her need to chew up the place was her crying for a cave. She needed a safer space to stay while I wasn’t home with her. The moment I put the crate together she crawled and laid down. I felt like an idiot for never figuring that out before. She eventually didn’t need one; after her passing Tiber needed it again.

I could write for days about this dog. This Rottweiler and her huge capacity to love. I felt like I failed her in so many ways. There are so many memories. So much joy and fun wrapped up with the two of them. They really were my constant companions. Rion. She has my heart.

Rion was my best teacher that in this world if you can be anything; be kind.

Rion (L) Tiber (R) enjoying dinner with their human

Grace.

I love watching Grace run. Her ears flip a little and she looks almost like she is hopping.

Grace is my Chocolate Labrador. To be breed specific she’s a Silver Factored Chocolate Labrador and she is the happiest dog I have ever met. No really she is.

Oh but she’s a lab you say, they are always happy. No some labs are busy. They are smart and always thinking. My first lab was named Grizzly. He wasn’t mine. He just came with the man I was dating and then married. Griz was my first ever Chocolate Labrador. He was a true Gun dog. He was a duck hunter and he was a water dog. Griz could learn any trick you taught him within minutes. He was smart. But because he was smart he also was easily bored. He also didn’t like to be left alone, he would show his displeasure by chewing up pages of books. Not the whole book. Just enough to be annoying and to let you know. He also once saved a kitten from drowning. He was something special. He was also my cat Oreo best friend, but their story is for another time.

Today is a about Grace and my journey to her.

After Griz, we got this furry, big headed Chocolate Labrador named Tiber. He was a big puppy who loved water and food. He was also joyful. He was funny in his own way and stubborn too.Tiber didn’t like to learn but he loved the results. Tiber taught himself to open gates and would take himself, and my Rottweiler, Rion, for a walk. They ended up in Dog Jail that way. Tiber also loved to sleep in the bed with me and would eat chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

Tiber was alive when we had our daughter, and I cannot express what an amazing and patient dog he was to that little girl. He would stand in a kiddie pool all day and wear the necklace with pride.

I want to tell you about Rion too, I do. She is so special to me that I can’t talk about her without crying. So that story about her will have to wait for another day.

I’m crying now just thinking about Tiber and Rion. They were like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. Best friends. I got my first ever Rottie from my father in law. She was 5 months old, same age as Tiber, and she was a freaking disaster. Rion had all the issues of an abused puppy. She didn’t trust humans, so I did what I do. I immersed her in life. Rion just didn’t understand love because she didn’t experience it. She became the most friendly, out going dog. She was my fiercest protector and she was so goofy. Her personality was just a big goof ball. She loved to play with everyone and she guided Tiber through any situation. I miss her terribly.

They both taught me so much. Two huge dogs made a lot of my trials and stressful situations at the time a lot easier. I was never alone when I had them.

After they passed away, it was 5 years until I thought I needed a dog in my life. So I went on search for a Labrador. I don’t know why really. I always thought I would get a Rottweiler, but I couldn’t. My heart wasn’t in it. I found a breeder in Montana that would ship to me living in Northern California. I was on the list to get a male Chocolate Labrador but it wasn’t meant to be. Her Female silver factored bred instead so I was offered a female from that litter.

On a chilly day in December I loaded up my daughter and drove to the airport to pick up a puppy. I still remember that Grace was wagging her tail and happy even in a crate. Just happy. We took her home and I thought I would never survive her puppy stage. Grace loved to sleep alone in her crate, which was odd for me after Tiber and Rion always next to me. But Grace wasn’t a snuggler. Then. However, now she can’t wait to put her head on your lap. Grace is the most overly enthusiastic fetcher and she constantly has to have a stuffed animal of some kind in her mouth. It’s the only thing that calms her down. I swear she can’t see but fling food in her direction she will ninja it out of the air. Grace barks at everything and everyone. Dogs and people. Running and barking up to people. It’s embarrassing because as soon as she gets to them, she sits and wiggles all over. She really is all bark. She’s super good with other dogs. I have only watched her go at it with my parents’ dog, Lucy. A kelpie. Even then it was over food and they looked more like two girls slapping each other.

Yes, Grace is a foodie. She waits unashamed for food to be tossed her way. She is best plate cleaner we have.

Grace is pure happiness. She loves green grass and will roll and roll in our yard. She loves to go with my dad and Lucy in the pick up. So much so, if he comes by and she gets in he can’t get her out. She will just sit in stare straight ahead and pretend she can’t hear. I have lost her more than once when she hears his diesel. Grace will just bolt down the street after him.

I am also lucky that she knows where my parents live and it’s the only place she goes when we go out the front door or the back gate gets left ajar.

We also added Jax the Chihuahua to the family when I met Craig. Jax is the sucker fish in our relationship. No, I didn’t know we needed a little dog who has so much anxiety and a capacity to love. He has become more mine than Craig’s.

And Grace just makes me happy. I just love her.

Ya know?