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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Archive for ‘April, 2019’

Avoid expensive vet bills, how to remove Foxtails at home.

Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.

 

Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.

They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.

 

Luckily they are easy to remove!

**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**

 

Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:

Eye(s):

  • Squinting
  • Rubbing
  • Inflammation/ redness
  • Pain
  • You saw it go in

Ear(s):

  • Tilting head to the side
  • Shaking head a lot
  • Possible pain while touching the ear
  • Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
  • Scratching ears a lot
  • Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)

Nose:

  • Sneezing a lot
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
  • Inflammation

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Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.

 

Here is what you can do at home now!

Here is what you will need:

  • Tweezers/ hemostats/ forceps
  • Grooming clippers (long hair dogs/ foxtail infestations)
  • Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
  • Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
  • Treats

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Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.

 

First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!

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Hot places for foxtails to live:

  • Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
  • In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
  • Tail fur
  • Neck/ collar area

Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.

 

Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:

  • Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
  • Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
  • Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
  • Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside

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I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!

I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.

Click here for the Ultimate Kit!

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Epic tech fail! I lost all my photos… *Update: I got more!*

I AM DEVASTATED!

We started the day with so much potential. I got up early and got ready to take the dogs out to see the poppies… again. This time we got a hot tip on a public field with LUSH poppies! So we hit the road up to the 14 North until Avenue J exit. Go west on Avenue J until you pass the solar panel facility and to the right just before it DEAD END. You will see the large meadow of bright orange flowers!

The best part? It was totally empty! There was an elderly couple who were nice and only stayed around to say hello to the dogs, oh yeah, Valentine made a new friend!

 

I was able to let the dogs out off leash and they could run through the flowers and enjoy themselves. To my surprise, there were already trails made throughout the field, so they were pretty good and kept from being destructive.

 

Now I had pictures to show and was going to make a cool video and post it but when I uploaded all of my footage to my Enuoda flash drive, the DATA DISAPPEARED! EVERYTHING GONE! My laptop nor my phone can find the file! I have no idea how to fix it, yes I knew that sometimes flash drives don’t last or can break, but all of the ones I had lasted forever! I was using this one strictly for “On the Go” photos, transferring my phone images to my laptop where I can edit them. I was in freak out mode for a while but I’m holding out hope.

 

If anyone knows how to fix this please comment below! I’ll keep the flash drive and try it here and there by chance it will work, at that time I will upload images to this post!

**Update**

So I wasn’t going to go down quite that easy, I was in such a bad mood that I lost all my photos that I knew the only thing that would make me happy are to go get more! So that’s what we did, I originally wanted to go back to catch the scene during the Golden Hour, so no time like the present. I loaded up a little after 6 and to my surprise, there wasn’t much traffic! We made it back to the field which was completely empty! Not a single car drove by the entire time we were there, we even stuck around to catch the sunset behind the mountains. The dusk was so pretty that I even got a ton of photos afterward, and yes this time I remembered Slytherin so I got great shots with him!

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Just goes to show, anything can happen, but it’s all about what you do afterward that makes the difference. I learned a lesson with my flash drives and now I back up all sessions until the transfer is successful. I didn’t throw my flash drive away and will recover those images someday, but I got some killer shots the 2nd time around and I couldn’t be happier!

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Basic things to know about the USMRA aka Mondioring for sport dogs

Keeping up with the theme of this past weekend’s San Diego trip I get a lot of people on my social media asking me what USMRA is, no it’s not a branch of the Marine Corp, though I know the acronym is similar and confusing. USMRA stands for the United States Mondio Ring Association, the sport along with many others originated in European countries and is very popular still out there. The USMRA is a member of the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF).

Other ring sports include:

  • Schutzhund
  • French Ring
  • PSA
  • IPO

USMRA Mission

  1. The mission of the USMRA and AWDF is to promote, conduct and administer Mondioring trials held to the FCI standards.
  2. To promote proper and humane training and handling of all dogs that participate in the sport.
  3. To promote sportsmanlike conduct at all Mondioring activities.
  4. To promote education about Mondioring by establishing nationwide trials open to the public as well as participants.

So what is Mondioring exactly?

I have been involved in the sport going on 4 years now, I live on the ranch that holds trials each year and twice a week we have club training, but unfortunately, I do not have a dog of my own to work. With 2 of my own dogs that deserve my attention, I can’t afford a 3rd high octane working dog. It’s not fair to me, my dogs, or a working dog I would get. Everyone knows I’m chomping at the bit to get a dog of my own, and they all ask me when that will happen. Though I don’t participate as a handler I do participate in many other ways and watch from the outside looking in, so that’s why I feel like I’m qualified to explain this to people who aren’t circling the sport or been around it their whole lives. SO let’s dive in!

Here is my elevator pitch on the sport. Mondio is a competitive sport that demonstrates obedience and personal protection at different levels through a series of exercises. Different from the other ring sports, Mondio practices with many distractions like what may occur in the real world outside of the arena. Strangers approaching loudly, shaking hands, toys, and food on the field to deter a dog. It’s all about control and training.

Therefore I love the sport, as someone who suffers from anxiety these days (who wouldn’t with all the mass shootings and human trafficking) I find I look over my shoulder everywhere I go and always have Beowolf by my side. Beowolf is not trained in personal protection at all, but he has an incredible judge of character and will literally push me off the sidewalk is someone sketchy is passing. However, the training for Mondioring is designed around that. In obedience classes, I find I started using the same commands and training techniques I see in the arena and it really helps with keeping him close. everyday life

Really this is a hobby for many people in the sport worldwide, for some, it’s their full-time job and they’ve made a career out of it but for many, they come home from working 9-5 and pull out Fido for training.

Who can participate?

Well right now there are still new regulations being formatted to evolve with the sport, however, USMRA participates in International events such as “Worlds” which is a worldwide trial for the top 6 in each country for each level. As it stands here are the criteria for dogs participating:

  • All new registrants must be purebred and registered through an organization. *This rule is in dispute amongst everyone so it may change*. This includes all breeds! The most popular are Belgian Malinois, German shepherds, and Dutch shepherds “Dutchies”. But can include large and small breeds from American Staffordshire terriers and Pugs to Cane Corso, Rottweilers and St. Bernard’s. If it’s purebred and has teeth, it can work! Currently, mixed breeds can participate but cannot place. boxer puppy
  • All dogs are to be intact (Not spayed or neutered). *This rule is also in dispute* Females can get away with this as you can’t obviously see the uterus from the outside and nobody does a physical to check, but males are harder to fool the judges. If you want to participate but your dog is neutered, there are things called Neuticles which are testicle implants, this is cosmetic surgery so be aware and do your research.
  • Behavior- Dogs don’t need to be outgoing and super friendly though that makes life easier for everyone, for those of you who have aggressive or sketchy dogs, this also may be the sport you can participate in. The sport teaches you how to control a dog who is “on a bite” and teaches your dog an “off switch” it will also teach your dog an “on switch” too so they are less likely to take matters into their own paws. Since the dogs don’t intermingle and many handlers are familiar with an intense personality, nobody is judging you! I know of several dogs are only like their handler and nobody else, when on the field the dogs learned this is time to work and after that, they are put away. Contact your local club coach for a consultation if you are interested in pursuing the sport with your dog.
  • Healthy- Vaccinated and in good physical health. The sport is a sport for dogs, not slavery, so the health and well being of dogs are the first and foremost top priority. Limping dogs, dogs with cuts or torn nails, health issues are not permitted and will be asked to leave the field. Many handlers will pull their dogs the morning of competition if they are subpar on their health, for many handlers in the US these are pets first and a working dog 2nd. So health is always a priority.

*As regulations change I will be updating this post. The coach for the Santa Clarita Mondio Club is close to those on the board committee so all changes, I will be among the first to know. *

Levels

There are 4 levels of Mondioring that are all based on the level of training for the dog. It’s not based on age like shows or other sports but where the dog is in training, the higher the level the harder it gets, and more exercises are involved. Again this sport is designed to build a bond and boost confidence in a dog, not deter it, so putting a dog in a level it’s not ready for is STUPID.

Brevet (Br-e-vay)

This is the beginner level, for young dogs or dogs just starting in the sport.

Obedience Exercises:

  1. Healing without a leash heeling
  2. Absence of handler– Dog is in the “Down” position while the handler leaves for 60 seconds. The dog must stay put until handler returns and releases the dog from the down position. There may be a ball or toy thrown to distract the dog, but this is at a distance so it’s not too hard.long down
  3. Retrieve– Basically a single game of fetch with a “personal item” likely something you’ve been training with. Dog retrieves the item, then comes back to sit in front of the handler. The dog has 15 seconds to complete the task. (Below is Oj Knighten and Dude. Oj is a handler and professional dog trainer in Los Angeles County, see his Instagram)retrieve 2

Jumping Exercise:

  1. Hurdle– The height is based on the standard for the level, which is 0.8 meters. hurdlehurdle 2

Biting Exercise-

  1. Face attack with Baton– The “Decoy” stands at a distance and wave the baton lightly, these sticks make a clattering noise and their bark is worse than the bite. The handler sends the dog to bite the decoy and after 10 seconds the handler gives the command to stop. At which point the dog must stop and either guard or lay down, then the handler can call the dog back or walk over and Heel him away. 
  2. Defense of the Handler– This one is fun, it’s very interactive with the handler and the decoy. The Decoy’s job is to be very annoying and will try and get your dog to bite, however, the dog is not allowed to bite until the decoy hits the handler with both hands. He must use both hands and it must be clear and audible for the dog to understand, at which point when he bites after 5 seconds the handler will call off the dog at which point the exercise ends the same way it did with the face attack.

Click here for Full Brevet rules

Level 1, 2, and 3 consists of all exercises in Brevet, with additional exercises.

Must pass each Level twice to be certified and advance to the next level *Same goes for levels 2 and 3*

Obedience:

  1. Send Away or Send Out- This is like the fake game of fetch. The dog is sent to retrieve an item and once he passes through a certain threshold the handler is to call him back. He is to return to a heel position.
  2. Positions– Handler is to command the dog to change positions from a distance. Sit, Down, Stand. In any combination. The judge or field assistant will tell you the combination during the exercise. positions
  3. Food Refusal– As the name says, handler leaves the dog in a Down position while someone tosses food in front of him. The dog should ignore the food, licking or eating results in failure of that exercise.
  4. Little Wood– Only level 2 & 3. The handler is given a small piece of wood to rub his scent on it, then across the field will place it in the middle of 3 other identical pieces of wood. The dog is to sniff out the scent and retrieve the correct wood.

Jumping Exercises: You can select the height your dog jumps, but you get more points the higher the jump.

  1. Palisade– Level 1- 1.8-meter height; Level 2- 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1; Level 3- 2.2, 2.3m palisade image
  2. Long Jump received_620808161438781 20161029_144239(0)
  3. Hurdle– Level 1- 1.0; Level 2- 1.1; Level 3- 1.2 (Below is Francois Massart a french handler/ decoy/ professional dog trainer in Temecula, CA. See his Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-162844_Instagram.jpg

Biting Exercises:

  1. Face attack with Baton and obstacle– Only Level 2 & 3 are with an obstacle (something for the dog to jump over like a tunnel or row of water barrels) obstacle 2 e collar present
  2. Face Attack with Accessories– Only Level 2 & 3. An accessory is a bundle of objects the dog should run through to get a bite. (Below is Allison a handler and Decoy check out her Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-163308_Instagram
  3. Flee Attack– The decoy is running away, and the handler sends the dog after the bite. flee
  4. Stopped Flee Attack or Call Off– Only Level 3. Same as Flee attack except handler is to call dog back before it contacts the decoy, the dog should return to a heel position. call off
  5. Search and Escort– Only Level 2 & 3. Basically, a game of hide-and-seek with the decoy, the dog should sniff him out and bark until the handler comes and gives dog next command. Then the dog should stay with decoy’s every move and prevent him from escaping via a bite, a lot of dogs are trained to walk between the legs of a decoy making it harder for an escape. DSCF8267
  6. Object Guard– Only Level 3. The object can be anything and the dog is to stand and guard it against the decoy who is trying to steal it while the handler is out of site. The dog should initiate a bite within a certain distance from the object, then let go to return to guarding the object. object 3

So how do we know who wins?

The best part is it’s a paired team sport, nobody competes against one another, everyone upholds the most sportsmanlike conduct. We all cheer and clap for each other and help everyone out, tips, videotaping and taking pictures among other things. Each exercise is scored on a point system, everything is worth a certain amount of points and the judges remove points as needed. In any event either everyone can pass, or nobody can, it all boils down to each individual team. It’s just you and your dog on the field, all your training and hard work come down to what happens on the field. team

What’s the reward?

Eternal GLORY! Just kidding but seriously everyone competes for a title for their dog and bragging rights. There is no prize money, though, every trial has raffles and you can win some dope stuff! Like I said earlier in the post, this is a hobby for pet owners as well as professional trainers, but everyone has the same amount of fun! Not to mention opportunities to travel for trials and meet new friends. friends

Do the dogs like it?

Do they ever! This is a sport designed for dogs, many thrive in this sport especially mouthy energetic dogs like the herding and working breeds. Most were bred to do exactly this and many owners admit that on their days off the dogs still want to work. You can hear excited cries as the dogs are on the field, they can’t control themselves and are eager to get out and work. They were born to work and do something, sure maybe the obedience part isn’t as fun but their reward in a “tug” or ball is well worth it, not to mention many decoys refer to themselves as a human tug. puppy dutch

What if I don’t want to compete?

There are many pet owners who don’t compete with their dogs but come to training just the same. We are a community of dog lovers who all mostly have the same breeds and can relate. We talk, we laugh, we eat and work dogs! There is no rule that says you have to compete if you train, in fact, if Valentine was able or Beowolf was younger I would participate in training but wouldn’t do the competitions. Like I said it’s a hobby and a fun one at that, creates a bond with you and your dog, teaches you about handling a powerful dog and builds both of your self-confidence! Contact a local club for any questions. *If you don’t plan on competing then a mixed dog can participate*

What if I don’t have a dog?

That’s not a problem as neither do I. You can volunteer at trials, help with your local clubs offering services and such (snacks and in my case I am the Vet tech on duty). If you’re interested in being a decoy the best part is this is an equal opportunity sport, both men and WOMEN can be decoys! Even I have taken a bite from one of our dogs in the club and let me tell you, it’s a major rush! I would do it more, but we have plenty of decoys to help and the coach doesn’t want me to get hurt since I need to be on my feet all day and I’m out of shape to handle the stamina and weight of the suit. received_809283349448893

Where can I check out an event?

Trials are held throughout the year by various clubs, this is nationwide as well as worldwide! National events are held in the spring and the International World’s championship are usually the first week of October. Trials are really fun as each one has a theme so the club decorates and makes it as interesting and unique as possible! Click on this link to see when and where there is a trial nearest to you! jurassic mondio

Check out this video of Jessica and Khaleesi from the USMRA Nationals April 13th. She is a level 3 competitor from our Santa Clarita club. Jessica is a teacher and Khaleesi is a family dog!

So I won you over and you want to know how to get started?

Check out this link to the official USMRA site to find a club near you.

Santa Clarita Mondio Club Southern California.

Hope you like this post, come check out a trial if you’re ever in the area!

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4 Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego you HAVE to check out this summer!

If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a Dog-friendly beach you must check out Ocean Beach dog beach.

 

Ocean Beach

This is an off-leash dog beach, separated from the “No dogs” side AKA the Not Fun side by a large rock formation. Of the Southern California dog beaches we’ve gone to, this one is by far my favorite! The beach stretches a mile long so you can walk along with the whole thing and back while your dog runs in and out of the water and checks out things getting washed up on the shore. I also like this area more for the community that goes there, for the most part, everyone both human and the dog has proper off-leash beach etiquette. The dogs either mind their own business or kindly tell the others to back off which from what I’ve seen while going there they listen.

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I consider this beach to be kind of a two-part beach, along the oceanfront side the white frothy waves come in and out which is excellent playtime for dogs and make beautiful pictures for the photographing owner. There are lots of tiny seashells that get washed ashore as well ranging in many shapes, sizes, and colors! If you keep walking the water flows into a shallow river and the banks are more solid, however, lots of critters live down below, you can tell by how many air pockets there are! The water slows to a still the further you go where at the end it’s blocked off for a bird wildlife protected area.

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Getting there:

You can take any freeway route that will meet up with the 8 junctions. You want to take the 8 West toward Beaches and follow signs for Sunset Cliffs. Keep in the left lane because there will come a fork in the road, you want to take a left at that fork (which has 2 lanes) use the right lane just to make merging easier. Next, you will take the first Right onto West Point Loma Blvd (you can also make a right on Voltaire which is the next street up). From here you will pass by all the vacation housing, make the first right you can take on Voltaire and you drive right into the parking lot.

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Parking:

  • Free!
  • I have never had trouble finding parking, but it can get full depending on when you go.
  • Handicap accessible
  • Clean apart from sand
  • Closes at 2am
  • Opens at 4am
  • **There is NO overnight parking between the hours of 2am-4am if you’re stealth camping I hear nobody seems to bother anyone though careful not to risk a ticket if you can’t afford it**

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Policies:

It’s an off-leash dog beach so all dogs should be off leash, leashes in these situations can lead to fights. (the Only fight I saw on the beach was with a leashed dog)

Clean up after your dog! There are bags at the entrance and trash cans all over so there is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog. **I will admit, sometimes a dog poops in the ocean when waves are crashing all over and so collecting the feces may not be possible. Yes, Beowolf I’m looking at you! (His first time) **

No fighting! Dog or people. People who come to the beach don’t want drama so if you or your dog can’t handle the uncontrollable situations at an off-leash dog beach then consider therapy and training before going. Valentine will never go anywhere that’s an off-leash social dog area, she’s a wild card and still in training, as she was attacked by 2 dogs when she was 10 weeks old she may never be able to do this but I’m hopeful one day she will trust me enough for this.

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Del Mar Dog Beach

I’ve come to this beach a couple of times and I like it. It IS a leashed dog beach which means all dogs always need to be leashed. This beach runs along with large rock formations, caves, and is at the base of the mountains of Del Mar so there is lots of privacy and areas that if you trust your dog they can quietly go off leash. The beach runs onto “Private Property” which homeowner will come out and scold you for being on their beach. I still think the idea of this is stupid but whatever, I either keep it moving or turn back the other way.

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Like OB this beach has was I call 2 sections. The coastal rock formation side and a lakeside. To the left of the beach under the bridge where the cars are usually parked is a large open lake where the ocean water channels into. There aren’t many places to set up camp or anything but if you’re just planning on swimming and letting the dogs swim it’s great! There are also lots of creatures that find themselves washed in and stranded during low tide so you can check them out and maybe do a little fishing (though I wouldn’t recommend this if dogs are playing nearby). I find this beach a little more crowded than OB, there are residential housing everywhere and this is the place to bring your dog if you have one so there can be a lot of dogs and families here.

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Getting there:

Getting to Del Mar dog beach is so easy! It’s off the 5 freeway and exit Via De La Valle, hang a right and then a left on Camino Del Mar and you should start seeing parking on the side of the road. **This is also where the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds are so again aware of what time of year you are going to account for traffic and parking**

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Parking:

  • Free
  • Difficult to find parking as it’s street parking everywhere so there are no lots to funnel into. This also means depending on where you find parking you may be in for a hike to the beach or paying.
  • Probably not handicap accessible or no different than any other street parking scenario.

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Amenities & Policies:

  • There are tons of trashcans to keep the beach clean and a dog poop bag dispenser so again no excuse not to clean up after your dog.
  • Lots of porta-potties as well! Though in the hot sun it’s not ideal when you gotta go…
  • Dogs have to be on leashes and it actually says on the website, standard 6-foot leash. The retractable leashes give you no control if there were to be a tussle and I’ve seen a dog get dragged because another dog chasing a ball ran through the line and yanked the handle from the owner. It didn’t stop until both dogs were in the water and the owners got into a huge argument over the leash!
  • Proper dog etiquette!

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Other Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego

Fiesta Island dog park- 1750 Fiesta Island Rd, San Diego, Ca. 92109

Coronado Beach and Dog Park- Ocean Blvd, Coronado, Ca. 92118

 

I have not been to these other 2 beaches though I want to! If you guys want me to take another family vacation south to check these ones out let me know!

San Diego or BUST! Taking the PCH with Beowolf to stealth camp in Bonita.

If you’re tired of being in LA this spring and want to venture out to other areas of Southern California then San Diego is the next obvious choice! With so many things to do, places to see, the zoos, the safari park, the beaches! Paired with perfect weather it’s the ultimate day out scene. Want to step it up a notch, well if you have the gas and the patience then taking PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) is the way to go!

 

I have always wanted to drive up the coast of California along the 1 PCH and never had the time or the opportunity, but this weekend all of that changed. I have a newer reliable car, better gas mileage and some money in the bank as a cushion. Also I was set to attend the USMRA National Championship, details on the event to come!

 

I cleaned the car, checked all the fluids, filled up the tank (mine cost $40-45 to fill) and loaded Beowolf into the car. I needed to keep Valentine home for this one, the size of the event along with number of other dog’s present can be a lot on her and it was just me so I wouldn’t have help to handle her, it wouldn’t be fair to Valentine or helpful in her training to not give her my full attention. Not to mention I was also working as a stand in RVT so even Beowolf would have to be put up if I was needed. Even though it was a quick trip I managed to do a lot! I saw my father who also got to hang out and watch the event, I took Beowolf to Ocean Beach Dog Beach which is our favorite place to go when in town and we got to see some of Camp Pendleton which is my old stomping grounds! Though I would have loved to do more and see more, this was a short visit.

 

So let’s get started!

To get to PCH I headed on the 405 West to the 110 in Carson and hopped onto the 1 in Harbor City. Firstly I wouldn’t recommend this, take the 405 to Seal Beach. From Harbor City on its mostly Long Beach inner city and residential areas, I feel like I wasted time and gas on stop and go inner city traffic and wasn’t even close to the oceanic sights I was seeking. This was a lesson I learned for YOU!

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Stay on the freeway until you get to Seal Beach, from there the PCH is beautiful! We stopped at Starbucks for some drinks and food and I needed to go to the bathroom, so I let Beowolf out to stretch his legs and he got his pupaccino! I saved money here as well, using a Starbucks gift card I got a long time ago, so it was FREE today! When we were relaxed it was off to the second leg of our adventure!

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You still go through beach cities like Huntington Beach, Newport Beach (home of my beloved show, The O.C), Laguna Beach (shout out to my girl Kristen Cavallari!), all the way to Dana Point. It was so nice listening to my music on a beautiful sunny spring day driving through the cute little cities with glimpses of the ocean as you pass by! We didn’t stop anywhere because I was still on a schedule and the plan was just to drive the PCH, next time we will get off and hit the beaches or eat somewhere.

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This was basically a recon mission, where to start the PCH journey, where the places I want to get off at, and any other little details I made note of as I passed by. Beowolf spent most of the time with his head out the window saying hi to the beach goers on the sidewalk who were equally in awe of him.

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Once we passed through Dana Point I decided to hop back on the 5 freeway as Beowolf was getting fidgety and likely had to go to the bathroom again, I didn’t want to stop in the city to try and find a park, but I knew there would be rest stops.

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We reached our first rest stop just before you reach the Main Gate of Camp Pendleton, Beowolf stretched his legs and sniffed for a good spot to potty while I stared at the oceanic views that were once my own back yard. I also longed to be back living on Camp Pendleton that was also once my home, but that was another life, still I couldn’t help the nostalgia from sneaking in momentarily.

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We spent 10 minutes at the San Onofre rest stop and when Beowolf was finished we hopped back in the car and was ready for the 3rd and final leg of our drive. As it was a little after 1:30 pm, it wasn’t too busy although there was still plenty of traffic. At this point I knew the freeway like the back of my hand, as this was the route I took to get to work when I lived in Oceanside and worked in Mira Mesa. It was like falling back into line, except this time I wasn’t on my way to some low paying job, and I had more entertainment to look forward to.

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I made it to Rohr Park in Bonita just before 3:30pm. Most of the set up for the next day event was done, but there was still plenty to do. So I let Beowolf rest while I ran around taping, cutting, hammering, and other stuff trying to help everyone finish in time for dinner. I didn’t go to the dinner with everyone because I wanted to see family, so my father bought pizza and we just hung out with Beowolf catching up on a lot.

 

Catching Z’s

So as any normal person would do, they would stay the night with family. However I am a future vanlifer (not nearly ready to start) and need to get the experience living in my car…again. Since the event was set up on a public park they needed overnighters to stay in the parking lot and keep an eye on things. This was the job for me and another girl who came to compete with her dog. Originally the plan was to shoot over to Ocean Beach and sleep in the parking lot there, it’s free and permitted until 2am then opens back up at 4am. A few friends suggested I do that as well as reviews sounded promising, the only risk would be being woke up by police between the hours of 2-4am, though the risk was low as not many cops bother you if you’re not bothering anyone. Plus in my car I just look like a tourist who parked her extra car there, versus a large RV that’s a big target. Nonetheless the sanctioned opportunity to just stay in the parking lot at the park was better, I didn’t want to really do more driving and there was a bathroom right by the car. It was also quiet and more private than at night where there can be a lot of passerby people who could disrupt my sleep.

 

I let Beowolf out to run around the huge field while I set up the bed in the back of my car and got dressed into something comfortable then it was time for night night. Only 1 parking patrol car drove by around midnight (park closes from 10am-6am) but they didn’t bother me, not sure if they didn’t care about 2 vehicles doing nothing, or if they knew there were 2 vehicles permitted to be there, but I slept like a baby. It was so warm and cozy as I used this new car air mattress I got on amazon. It was easy to inflate and insulate the heat better than I thought, in fact when I woke up the next morning all my windows were dripping from the steam we created!

 

I was glad in the end that I stayed there, the bathrooms were better than portal potties. I let Beowolf out for a minute and then deflated the mattress putting away our night things and got ready for the beach! We got to Ocean Beach dog beach around 7am and it was already getting busy, there weren’t many dogs though which I was happy about. There is a reason I stopped taking Beowolf to dog parks and that reason stretches to public beaches as well. He has never once started a fight or caused trouble, but not everyone watches their dogs or has control of them, Beowolf can also be a… wolf… which means he doesn’t always come when called either. It had been a while since I let him mingle freely with other strange dogs and so before getting out of the car I gave him a pep talk to be on his best behavior.

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He heeded my advice and was a very good boy, though like I predicted he didn’t much want to come when called. He was more focused sniffing the thousandth pile of seaweed to care about my commands (something we need to work on) but all in all he was well behaved and made new friends, he also made sure to stay close by. I managed to get amazing footage of him, but my stupid phone was dying and his reluctance for paparazzi meant I couldn’t get all the shots I wanted! Oh well, reason for another trip I suppose! We stayed there a little over an hour and then went back to Rohr park where it was already packed!

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The event was awesome! I got to see friends that I haven’t seen in a while and watch people from our club compete on the National levels which was great, my father stopped by to hang out and watch the event too. Even Beowolf sat with us for a good portion of the day until it was time to break for lunch in which case it was time to put the beggar away. As it grew later in the day I needed to head out, like I said it was a very quick trip, I needed to be back to work the next day and didn’t want to get in too late. My father checked out my car and made sure I was ready for the 3hr drive ahead of us, I filled up the rest of my tank (I never start a long-distance drive without my tank FULL) and headed out.

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The drive home was great, later than I wanted so the sun was lower than I like, making it so I must constantly flip back and forth the sun visor for shade. Overall it was as I predicted. I just took the 5 straight up because at this point I just wanted to get HOME! This made it easier too not having to navigate a lot of traffic, just stay in this lane and we’re good. I travel this way a lot as well, my grandpa lives in La Habra and so I take the 5 everywhere.

 

I got home around 7pm which was good timing for the drive. Bagheera and Valentine were ecstatic to see me, I let Beowolf out to run the property with Valentine while I unloaded the car and got settled into the house. They could use the nice stretch of their legs too, Beowolf with me having jetlag and Valentine from being in the kennels overnight.

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We’re exhausted, to say the least, but it was a great time! Even though it was short I mostly wanted to see if I could do it and take advantage of things I’ve been wanting to do. Like, get a first-hand knowledge of Pacific Coast Highway and stealth camping in other places. I intend on taking PCH northbound at a later date to check out those areas as well, likely will be when I go up to Sacramento for my stepdad’s grand opening of a restaurant.

 

In the meantime, stay classy San Diego!

How to protect your dog from Rattlesnake bites!

Spring has arrived and that means outdoor dogventures are on the rise! If you’re anything like me, spring symbolizes the time to leave the house from hibernation all winter, and into the lure of fresh flowers in the air its enough to pull you out of the sweats and strap on the hiking shoes. With the large number of wanderlusters going out that increases the number of potential dogs tagging along. If you own a dog you know that unless they are on a proper leash (Not a retractable) then they like to stray from the beaten path, this is okay if we were the only ones out in nature, but that’s never the case. Snakes are among the wildlife that you will encounter. There are many different species of snake out there.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a quick education about snakes:

There are 2 main types of snakes:

 

Constrictor- These are the pythons and kingsnakes among others. Basically, these snakes catch their prey with their mouth and curl their body around them and constrict, this is how they kill their prey, suffocation. These are what are considered not as dangerous (though snakes of various sizes can be a danger to a small child or dog). These snakes are NOT poisonous, though they do have teeth and can still bite.

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Handler showing children a Milksnake at a Charity event

Venomous- These are your rattlesnakes, vipers, and basically anything that kills their prey while remaining at a safe distance. These guys will strike and envenomate their prey and while they die the snake will wait nearby until they can consume them.

 

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You can tell the difference from a distance just by looking at the snake’s head. Constrictors have a narrow head slightly wider than the body, whereas venomous snakes have a wide head at the cheeks because of the pockets of venom that are stored and it’s more triangular.

 

Most of the time you will HEAR the rattlesnake before you see it, their tail rattle will vibrate and sound like a buzz. All snakes have a striking distance of half their body length; math time, if a snake is 4 feet long and their striking range is half their body length then what is their striking distance? That’s right, 2 feet!

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So now that you have a brief overview of the types of snakes you may encounter let’s move on to the dog facts.

 

We all know dogs use their nose to sniff and they are curious af! Working in a vet clinic I would see many cases of rattlesnake bites and I have personal experience with rattlesnake encounters. Typically dogs would get bit on the face, this is bad news bears! If a dog gets bit in the face the swelling can obstruct their airway through their nose and for the obvious reasons you need to see a vet!

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Now some dogs have gotten away with getting bit by a snake and nothing happened, a lot of clients have told me this that their dog was bitten on multiple occasions and never sought medical attention and the dog was fine. This is your own risk! Most of these clients are ranchers and their dogs are ranch dogs, so not to say the owner didn’t love their dog, relationships are different for everyone. Dogs stem from wolves and their immune system is meant for survival so yes perhaps some dogs have a stronger tolerance of snake bites, not to mention every snake is different so please don’t base the decision for medical treatment on that.

**If your dog has been bitten by any snake please go to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Note: If you see the snake that bit your dog, please try and identify the snake correctly, I know you may be shaken, but knowing what type of venom you’re dealing with will absolutely help your dog’s medical staff**

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How to protect your dog:

There are many ways to protect your dog this spring and summer from all types of snakes, in particular (if you are a California resident) Rattlesnakes!

Vaccines: Yes there is a vaccine for Rattlesnake. There is a company in Woodland, Ca that has formulated a vaccine the aids in the protection of dogs from rattlesnake bites. A common misconception of this vaccine is that it is a “preventative”, it is not. A preventative vaccine is like Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella among some others. These vaccines protect the function of cells from diseases and viruses. However, snake venom is venom, like a poison, which kills the cells in the tissue altogether. Like all vaccines though, it creates memory cells to help the immune system fight off what it can. This vaccine buys your dog valuable time to seek medical treatment when the time is of the essence in a snake bite situation.

 

I always told clients that it’s better to have the vaccine on board than wish you had it and you didn’t. Since there is no set time frame when the venom passes through the body it’s better not to waste or risk it, especially in the case when you are in the middle of nowhere and must hurry back to the car and race to a hospital.

 

Call your local clinic to see if they carry the vaccine. If they do please consider getting it for your dog. It’s a 2-vaccine series spread out 4 weeks apart, in some cases there may be a 3rd vaccine for extra large dogs, but if you stay consistent with it then you will only need 1 vaccine per year after that. My dogs are vaccinated and it’s a real peace of mind knowing they are current with the most protection I can give, especially since Beowolf roams freely about the ranch while I work. The best time to get started with the series in February and March as the peak of the snake season is April, however, you can start or booster anytime during the spring and summer, again better to have it and not need it.

*Standard reactions are a lump at the injection site that can appear anywhere between 2 days and 2 weeks from getting the vaccine, more severe cases are abscesses that appear though these are very rare but considered normal. If you see this you can apply a warm compress for 5 minutes a couple times a day and please call to notify your vet of this as they are to be reporting reactions*

 

Rattlesnake avoidance classes: Yes there are rattlesnake classes that you and your dog can attend together. This is held by various people with usually the assistance of a professional snake handler. Typically the rattlesnake used is alive with its mouth taped for the protection of the dogs in the class. E-collars or electric collars are used as an aid for a deterrent in the training, what the class does is it shows the dog the snake in a natural environment. The rattle begins to vibrate and as the dog pays attention to the snake the trainer hits the button on the E-collar. My dogs have yet to participate in classes, but we hope to get started soon. I know a lot of clients who love the classes and feel it has helped them and their dog in avoiding rattlesnakes.

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Antivenom: This is a treatment method that is also time sensitive and must be given IV slowly. This is only administered by a veterinarian and should only be used in the event of an actual bite. Sometimes if medical treatment is immediately after a bite and clinical signs are not sever then you can get away with IV fluids and IV antibiotics and pain killers along with monitoring and not need the antivenom, but most cases do.

 

You: You should have known that everything with your pet boils down to you! If you know you are going out on a hike with your dog take extra precautions, this isn’t just for your dog’s safety but yours as well. People get bit all the time by stepping on a snake accidentally. So here are just a few ways that you can accomplish this.

Research- Investigate the area where you’re going and see if there are any natural inhabitants to watch out for (rattlesnakes are NOT the only ones out there to watch for).

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Tools- Leashes are best with keeping your best bud close to you on the beaten path and out of tall weeds and rummaging through wood piles.

Your eyes- Nature is beautiful no doubt but try to draw your eyes to the ground ahead of you and scan the ground for anyone on the path ahead of you. Scanning for snakes can help you and your dog from accidentally stepping on a snake.

Your ears- For the obvious reasons you want to listen out for rattlesnakes, a lot of times you can hear the rattle before you see the snake.

 

*I do all these things when I go hiking, also when I am just walking around the ranch. I have a lot of paths that I take to get to the horses to feed them and there are plenty of places to stumble upon a snake. I am constantly scanning not only where I step but the area where Beowolf is walking around too. I am a little more lenient on Beowolf being on the property lose because his instincts are strong and he has a good sense of danger, at least keeping his distance long enough for me to get to him*

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The DL on rattlesnakes:

Rattlesnakes and all snakes for that matter are not out to get you, I 100% respect the fear people have of snakes though I cannot personally relate because I love snakes. A snake will not jump out at you, they will not hunt you down or chase you unless you are really pissing it off like I’ve seen on YouTube videos with men taunting cobras. A rattlesnake out in nature will not do that, in fact, I watched a documentary of a snake hunter looking for rattlesnakes and when they found 2, the snake did nothing but curl in a ball and rattle. It wasn’t until they grabbed the snake with the catcher that it even bit the catch pole, snakes feel pain and have fears as well. They would rather stay far away from you for their own safety, it’s not until someone steps on them and messes with them that they even do anything. This is how dogs get bit, sticking their nose in their face and barking pawing or taunting them.

 

As a cold-blooded animal snakes like to sunbathe, and you will find them in the early mornings when it’s starting to get warm sunbathing on a rock or dirt road. Basically, they spent all night chilling out and now they want to warm up. They typically live under a large pile of wood or stick piles.

 

Rattlesnakes have natural predators, the most common is Gopher snakes and the California Kingsnake. Kingsnakes are cannibals and will eat other snakes, hence their name. Both Kingsnakes and Gopher snakes are relatively friendly and harmless to people, they do have teeth and can bite, yes, but the risk is much lower. I found a California Kingsnake last year, it slithered into the arena where we were working dogs and I was able to walk right over and pick it up. It tried scurrying away from fear, but I gently picked it up and relocated it somewhere safe (not around working dogs that would kill it). I have not found any gopher snakes around, but these are the GOOD GUYS! I would gladly take them as a gift and release them around the ranch, a natural deterrent, and predator to rattlesnakes is more humane to me. The circle of life. I can’t stand that people kill rattlesnakes, I understand why they do it, but rattlers have been around since before I was born, and nobody will ever completely kill them off.

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California Kingsnake- Harmless to people, a natural predator of Rattlesnakes! Pictured above is a juvenile.

 

Donate them to SCIENCE!

Chances are if you are in an area where Rattlesnakes reside, there is a snake wrangler who will come and catch a snake if you find one and safely capture it. The snake wrangler in my area Bruce Freeman will take the snakes he captures and sends them to where they can be humanely milked for their venom. This venom is a vital ingredient to both the Rattlesnake vaccine and antivenom! Yes in order to successfully create and distribute vaccines and antivenom they need snake venom from live snakes. Rather than waste a life, call someone who will come and give snakes a purpose!

 

A friend recently found a juvenile rattlesnake that a kid killed for him. He brought it to me so that I could skin it after he used it to train his dogs for avoidance. He’s new to the area and terrified of snakes so I couldn’t blame him for it but still, he didn’t quite know what he was doing. Firstly they put the dead snake in a Clorox bottle and froze it. Crickets. First, the bleach will affect the scent of the snake, which he wanted to let his dogs smell the carcass and shock them to avoid the smell. This isn’t going to work, I told him that if you rely on your dog sniffing a snake and running away then you already lost. By the time a dog got close enough to sniff the snake, his face is already bitten and that’s the worst place you want your dog to get bit. Then the scent will be wrong anyway because it’s been sitting in a bleach bottle.

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Next, the most effective method of avoidance classes is the live rattle, the sound of the rattle will carry and will warn a dog before he’s within striking distance. Snakes like to warn you to KEEP away, not just get away, so if the dog hears the rattle chances are they are in a safe distance to warrant a warning, not a bite.

 

I then explained to him about Bruce Freeman which he didn’t know he could call a guy to get the snake for him. I also told him about the work Bruce does and the importance of the live rattlesnakes to the vaccines and antivenom we use to protect our dogs. He had just got his dogs vaccinated and so it was perfect to point out that if not for live rattlesnake venom his dogs wouldn’t be able to get a quality vaccine. I hope next time he calls Bruce instead of letting some idiot kid lie to him that he can train his dogs for rattlesnake avoidance with a dead rattler.

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Slytherin hanging out with us and playing with our Valentine’s Day Backdrop at the clinic.

I really hope this post helps you in both understanding the nature of snakes and tips to keep your dogs and yourself safe this summer!

Have fun and be safe out there!

10 awesome tips to help you stay on track with Paleo!

If you’re anything like myself you have a hard time with losing weight. Since I was 10 I was considered overweight (for my age) and that has followed me into adulthood. I feel like I have tried so many attempts to get in shape, working out, eating right, starvation, and even diet pills (I would sneak my mom’s supply from the cupboard) and nothing stuck. Mostly because I never did the right stuff together, I either ate great but didn’t work out and was lazy or I would exercise and eat crap food, nothing ever really linked up for me. I knew I never wanted to take the easy way out, no surgery, lipo, things like that. I also never had consistency, I can blame it on many things in my life the made me this way but regardless, I have been my own person since forever and if I truly wanted to succeed then I wouldn’t let the excuses get to me.

My best success was back in 2015, I was on a Paleo diet, several of my cousins ate Paleo and it was easier for me to know what to do and talk food with them. I got excellent tips and was motivated to keep going, those cousins were also personal trainers and fitness models, so it made me want to exercise more. For the first time in my life, I was doing things right, eating properly AND working out at the same time! I was 47 pounds down and feeling the best I ever did, I kept up with this for the better part of a year. In June 2015 I graduated from college and promptly moved to LA, I was excited about this, I had money a career, a healthier lifestyle and I was ready to take on LA!

The day before my first payday (I was planning on getting a gym membership with this) an idiot kid pulled out in front of me and pretty much totaled my car! So began months of depression, financial damage, and significant damage to my overall health. I gained almost 50 pounds, my eating habits were horrible, and the most working out I did was taking Beowolf for walks because that was all I could do. I always had body issues and was not comfortable exercising outside in public, so I didn’t. Living with my grandma was no picnic at all, I love her to death, but living with her is not for the weak hearted. I solely relied on her to take me everywhere which was nowhere if she had her way so forget about dropping me off and picking me up from the gym, all my money went to saving for a car of my own, we lived with the windows closed in near total darkness, and her negativity sent me into a downward spiral.

Fast forward to March 2019

This past year has been a bit of a roller coaster, but it’s been progressively better! Finally the time has come to restart the lifestyle I started years ago but living 500 miles away from the cousins who helped me before it all boils down to me myself and I. Sick and tired of hot summers where I feel uncomfortable wearing unflattering clothes or hardly wanting to leave my house because sweating and difficulty breathing was not appealing.

Lucky for me I have always been someone that when I showed consistency with my habits I would see results. The problem usually is a length of consistency, I lose 5 pounds and treat myself with a cheat meal that leads to a cheat day that never ends.

I started researching, everything, all over again, from the science behind willpower to relearning the benefits of eating Paleo. Then I reminded myself of all the tips I had back in 2015 (I had an awesome journal with everything that helped me before, but it disappeared and now I’m re-creating it from scratch!)

My tips (and pretty much what I’m doing again):

1. Drink water– Because duh. Water is good for you for an abundance of reasons, and it plays a huge factor in the success of weight loss. Keep an aluminum bottle with you always, not something too big, something easy to carry with you and refill frequently.

  • Lubricates organs
  • Clear skin
  • Full lips
  • Hydrated hair
  • Helps you feel full and staves’ cravings
  • And those are just a few!

2. Meal prep- Yes you read this one repeatedly. This will never change unless you have the will power of a monk. Mainly this helps with keeping you from making impulse decisions, you get off work and you’re starving, it’s been a long day and you really don’t feel like cooking. Creating dishes to wash just seemed like more work when all you want is to eat and watch tv. Obviously, you pick a day to do all your cooking try to be as efficient as possible, cooking items at the same time and using similar ingredients to different variations. Example: You cook up some grilled chicken, with asparagus and brown rice. The brown rice can go a long way and cooking the asparagus with other veggies will save time. Then you can add the chicken to each meal with different seasoning or toppings. Pick several easy grab-and-go snacks that you can choose from at any given point.

Now nobody is perfect, I certainly am not, so making a list of places you are likely to go to will help you. Then within that list create a cheat sheet, items you can eat that won’t break your progress. Stick to that list the best you can. If your order comes with a drink just get water or tea unsweetened (if you need sweetener, add it yourself or just get used to drinking it plain).

3. Grocery shopping- So Paleo, in a nutshell, is eating anything not produced in a factory, if it wasn’t altered in a warehouse then you can eat it. Fresh produce, meats, nuts, and seeds. My personal rule is shop along the outside perimeter of the grocery store, staying away from the middle isles. Don’t get things in a box or can, bags or wrappers, etc. Frozen selections would be the exception of this rule as I like to buy frozen foods to save money and still eat clean.

4. Consistency– The first few days will be easy but then the temptations come, work party has a cake and candies, holiday food with delicious gravy and stuffing! Whatever the reason there will always be temptations, which will test you, the colorful sweet foods will call your name like a song. Try not to think of it as saying “No” that subconsciously messes with your mind and then suddenly by telling yourself no you find yourself wanting to say Yes even more. Eventually, you cave and reason with your mind that it’s just a small bite, or one piece or half a slice. Try telling yourself that it isn’t No forever but No, for now, use phrases like “that’s not good for me” or “I don’t need that”. Wording it differently will start to change the way you look at junk food and will boost your will power.

5. Willpower- This is one I struggled with my whole life. In my early 20’s I started admitting that I have no willpower, I said it so much it was my excuse for everything, and I started believing it. After doing research I learned that willpower is not something you are just born with, it’s a skill that you acquire. Your own mental reasoning is what strengthens your skill, maintain your resolve now for a bigger payout later. We all have willpower that is weak or strong in a different aspect. For instance, I have great willpower when it comes to certain things. For example, I love maple and chocolate covered donuts but pretty much all the others I can pass by, I don’t hate the other ones and would still eat another type but if I don’t see my faves in the box I close the box and walk away. Some girls at work go nuts over chocolate candy, but me I can live without having a piece, though white chocolate I go nuts for.

Training your mind to start looking at clean food the same way you look at junk food will turn your appreciation to eating right when you start seeing junk food for what it is, then you won’t be so eager to eat it or crave it.

6. Exercising– When I started exercising I told myself that 10 minutes a day of something is better than 0 minutes of nothing. I read an article that said squats are the ultimate full body exercise, that if you only do 1 exercise at all, let it be squats. So that’s what I did, 5 minutes of squats in the morning and at night before bed. Eventually, I included push-ups and crunches. I like doing body strengthening exercises at home for 2 reasons. 1- I can start conditioning myself with muscle memory and just doing HIIT. 2- I had a gym membership at so many gyms: 24-hour fitness, LA Fitness, Fitness 19, MMA Compound. All of which I paid every month for membership to a gym I NEVER attended, so I learned not to waste my money on things I’ll never use.

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So I started working out at home, doing what small amount I can just to remain consistent and build a habit. It takes 21 days to build a habit and so 25 was my goal, for good measure. Every day no matter what time it was I made sure I did something, anything, for 10 minutes. Once your stamina is built take the exercise a little further, increasing it each time when you’re ready. Consider it like leveling up in a video game, setting goals each time.

If you’re looking for routines to try you can find them just about anywhere, Pinterest is an amazing start it has images of charts that you can save to your phone or write out to keep track. There are many apps you can try that as well will tell you what exercises to do and will even time you or count your reps. YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for at home work out videos, from dancing routines to straight forward personal trainer. Look through some videos and find what works for you.

I created a Workout folder that saves all the videos I enjoyed so I can easily find them when I need them, I also subscribe to my favorites to get the new videos.

7. Journal– Write it out however you want. I see people who chart what they actively do each day, keeping track of everything will help you see your progress and monitor your habits. This will show you what areas you’re high and low in. For me, this is usually high in sugary foods and low in exercises which severely needed to change.

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I did my journal a little differently, I used it like it was a manual, keeping my recipes and the workout routines I find online so I can access them quickly and not need my phone. I number all my recipes and workouts so when I chart them I can just use the number and refer to them, so I don’t have to re-write it each time. Do your journal how you feel it best to keep you on track and make your life easier.

8. Weight- This is the biggest draw for someone wanting to get in shape. Even this should be routine, weigh yourself at the same time every time but don’t overdo it. There is such thing as weighing yourself too often, we plateau, we fluctuate. Ladies we bloat for a week out of every month. Life comes into play with our weight so try not to stay focused on that too much. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you can’t solely rely on 135 pounds looking the same on everyone. The shape and how you feel is what matters most, fitting into a pair of jeans or climbing a set of stairs without losing your breath.

Again give yourself a goal to strive for, taking the stairs to the floor of your building for work, training for a marathon, or finally getting to wear that bikini for the beach trip! For me, it was an outfit, a nice pair of jeans and top I’ve had for years but could never fit into. The scale just gives you a number to work for, but the clothes don’t lie.

9. Don’t give up- Okay so you did pretty good, but you cheated and skipped a day of working out, that makes you feel like you fell off and so there’s the end of your diet right? Wrong! Just because you skipped the workout today, there is always tomorrow! You cheated at breakfast so there goes your diet for the day right? Nope wrong again, there are still 5 meals left in the day to stick to it! A moment only lasts for a short while, what you make of the rest of them is what matters.

10. Finally, have fun! – Clean living can be hard at first and temptations are everywhere to throw you off, but once you get used to it you really start to love working out and eating clean. Your body was designed to thrive off a healthy lifestyle and once you get nonsense out of your system your body will tell you what it wants and crave what it truly needs.

I know this was a long post, but I hope it was helpful. I like many others out there know what it’s like to fall off the wagon many times, I cheat, skip workouts and full on just fail. It’s about getting back up and trying better the day.

5 amazing DIY projects you can do with things you already have in your home!

Hey there thanks for checking out my page. As I said in earlier posts I have a wide variety of interests. Traveling, though is my passion, it’s not the only thing I love doing. I still have a home base and love doing things to liven up the place. Including DIY projects and refurbishing!

Today I’m going to share with you 5 awesome DIY ideas you can try at home with items you already have laying around your house!

Frames:

I got a large set of frames for 8×10 photos from work as they were cleaning out their shed and found a bunch of old brown frames that were used as displays back in the day. To be honest they weren’t horribly ugly, just really outdated, but nonetheless, I knew I could use them. Not to mention they were offered to a group of us and everyone said the same thing, “they won’t match what I have at home”.

First and foremost, not all frames need to be identical is pattern or shape or design, in fact, it’s more decorative to have some that look a little different or vary in size. Also using colors like Black, Grey and White are considered “Timeless” which means they can practically match any color scheme and decor in any era of style or fashion. (Yes I took some interior design classes, but I’m not an interior designer, although I’m sure I can make a business of it.)

So I took them home and cleaned them, keeping the glass separate I placed them all on some newspaper evenly then I took some black spray paint and… voila!

This took maybe an entire can of semigloss black Rustoleum spray paint I got for $3 at Home Depot. The frames were, well, FREE. Total time it took was about 10-15 minutes! If you don’t have frames from work like I did, then you can find cheap ones at the Goodwill or Thrift store or even Facebook marketplace. Another place to go would be Craigslist, they may even be free because people just want to get rid of them and the personal value of framed pictures has decreased though not gone out of style. Remember, not all frames need to match.

P.S I thought I had the before picture of the frames on my phone but I cannot find them, I know I sent the before and after to someone I just have to figure that out. Once I find it I will update this post but in the meantime, the “before” photo will be of one remaining 12×12 set of 3 that I have yet to paint. The color of the frame is the same as the ones I already painted.

Removing labels from jars:

Ok so this is more of a tip than DIY project, but the results of removing the labels can lead you to so many various ideas! I don’t know about you, but I love Mason jars as décor, really as anything. I use them for my smoothies, storing food, everything. Since I use a lot of sauces in my cooking I end up with a bunch of the washed-out jars under the sink, my mom calls me a hoarder but really I don’t have that many. They just pile up because I was too lazy to take the labels off when I was not yet sure what I was going to do with them.

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How I remove the labels-

To remove the labels, I filled my sink with hot water and dish soap and let them soak. You can do it for however long your patience allows, I let it soak overnight for 1 batch and the 2nd batch I was so busy it soaked for 2 days. The 2-day batch was better, the labels practically slid off as I wiped. Pulling them out of the water and letting them dry, allows the adhesive to dry and re-adhere, making it harder and you must scrub. So keep them submerged in water and pull them out one at a time to remove labels. Once all the labels were off I gave them all one last scrub with soap to get any remaining residue off.

*I did the exact same thing for old candle jars and even the Starbucks cold coffee bottles that look like old milk bottles, it works great for all of them, though the Starbucks bottles needed some careful “peeling” as that label is like a plastic*

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Once they are clean and dry you are free to do whatever you want with them!

Jar lids: I had a friend ask me about the lids of pickle jars, she was having trouble getting the smell of vinegar off them. She told me she heard of baking soda and water but hadn’t tried it yet. I have not had any issues with the smell of vinegar on lids, however, whenever I empty a pickle jar I usually soak the inside with hot water and again dish soap and shake it really well until it suds on the inside and then making sure the lid is secure, I tilt it over and let it soak overnight upside down. In the morning when I dump the jar, the whole thing is clean and smells like soap.

Wine bottle storage:

I love wine, Stella is my favorite just because it’s easier going down, but I have a serious collection of bottles that are waiting to be put to good use. However, recently I started using clear ones as storage for my grains. My rice comes in bags and if I pick it up wrong it spills and there goes my rice and pasta.

I was looking for storage containers that would look nice in my up-and-coming kitchen but really don’t have the money to go out and buy special grain containers no matter how cute they were. I was starting to get desperate as keeping boxes and bags was not practical as I live in the country and the occasional rodent ventures in for a snack (don’t worry I have a cat who’s an excellent ratter). In my desperation to resolve my problem while not breaking the bank I started thinking outside the box, what do I have in my house that can keep critters out, look nice on my counters and hold a good amount of grain. What also do I have that would match with each other and look sort of uniform without being all over the place? I started with jars, but the sizes I had didn’t hold much and they were all different and looked funky, I had to pick which grain to put where because I had more of others and after I poured I discovered I still had leftover that needed to go in a Ziploc. No. That won’t work.

So I looked around the house and that’s when I saw them, my wine bottles, the clear one’s front, and center and luckily for me, I had several of the same brands! So I took them and rinsed them out one more time and let them dry.

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Then I poured my grains in. There was plenty of space for a full bag of rice. I also opened a box of Quinoa and poured the remainder of oatmeal in the other 2. In the glass bottles, they looked great! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the baggie of cork that I was collecting so, for now, I am using rolled up paper towel until I can get some or find the ones I had. They are super easy to pour, whether I’m just pouring into a bowl or measuring out what I need and any extra can just be funneled back into the bottle! When corked my grains will remain fresh and its beautiful décor considering my style is rustic… wine country. I even told my mom about this, and showed her pictures, she loved the idea and is now doing this as well. She says she gets loads of compliments from her friends on how decorative it is and the creative idea.

Epsom salt dispenser:

So after you’ve done all these DIY projects it would be excellent to sit in a nice bath and soak all that hard work and creative energy away! You go to your bathroom and turn on the hot water to fill the tub, while that’s going you get your candles lit and set the ambiance for a relaxing bath. Then you go to get your Epsom or bath salts, you reach under the sink and grab the bag. Whoops, looks like you forgot to close it last time and the salts spill everywhere, or perhaps it’s been so long that you’ve used them (out of sight out of mind) that the bag has dust or holes in it. For whatever reason the bag is so not attractive, if only there was a cute container to put them in that would look decorative on your bathroom counter to remind you to use them.

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Well, there is a very inexpensive way to do this. I bought a bottle of water CORE water, they started making the smaller 16oz bottles and I grabbed one at a gas station. I like these bottles because of the design but I don’t get them frequently. I mostly use the aluminum bottles, you know to save the environment and all, but those only work when you have water in them. I had the bottle sitting around my house as I would one day use it.

I was cleaning my bathroom recently and I came across 2 bags of Epsom salts that were dusty and shoved all the way to the back of the cabinet, I can’t stand that, I don’t like things gathering dust especially under a cabinet. So I walked around the house looking for something that would work for this and behold! The CORE bottle sitting on my kitchen sink. It was perfect! It even had a lid to measure out how much to use and it was in the same color scheme as my bathroom, blue! It was a done deal.

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I cut off the label carefully and funneled the salt into the bottle, tightened the lid and boom! I want to get a nice label maker so I can label what it is, but right now, nobody takes baths in my house and I know what’s inside so it’s alright.

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This project took me a whole 5 minutes to do and I’ve used it twice since doing this. It sits right next to a cute bath bomb holder that was also a super easy DIY project!

 

Bath bomb jar:

This is probably the easiest of them all. Every once in a while I find myself at Dollar Tree, needing something for some project I’m working on. For some reason, I wanted a vase for Thanksgiving décor, and I found this simple yet elegant design. I have 3 just like it in my house, all used for various things. This item only cost me $1.08 when I bought it several years ago (this item is a staple at Dollar Tree so you can find one like it just about anywhere and any time of year).

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For the lid- I had several empty Yankee candles and a few Main Stays candles from Walmart, the large $5 candles they always have there. Turns out the MainStays lid fits perfectly into the top of the vase, you can also cut off the rubber suction ring carefully from the lid and it makes a glass on glass piece. It’s very nice for any decoration and I found similar items at Micheal’s, Walmart, and various stores for over $10!

Since I had the lids leftover from candles I burned out last year, it really didn’t cost me anything to do this. In total it cost $6 but I bought both the vase and candles at a previous time for other projects, so if you think about it, they already paid for themselves by the time I decided to do this. It was just things I had around the house that now look like I spent good money to make my bathroom look fancy!

There you go, 5 easy DIY ideas that can make your home look like a million bucks for the low price of practically nothing. Most of these items I had already bought a long time before I did these projects, though I spent some money on them previously, they cost nothing to did this now. I hope you guys enjoyed this, please comment, like and share and let me know if there are any questions or ideas you would like me to try.

Thank you and have fun doing it yourself!

A quest for the Hidden Falls!

If you’re near the Sacramento area this summer looking for a great place to hike then look no further than Hidden Falls trails. Nestled in the mountains of Auburn, California. This quiet pristine wilderness is suitable for all levels of hikers, dog hikers, and horse hikers alike!

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Location: 7587 Mears Pl, Auburn, CA 95603

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As you drive toward Reno the adventure begins, as you slowly leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind the freeway begins to lighten up. You can see the dense forest from the road grow heavier the further you go and it’s a beautiful site to see!

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The parking lot is huge, I’ve never had difficulty finding parking here, though it is usually busy along with horse trailers to the side. As you enter the trail there is a vast meadow you walk alongside, depending on the time of year this can be green with tall grass, littered with wildflowers or dry wheatlike stems (hotter months). Nonetheless, it is beautiful and you will often see families enjoying it, horses trotting, or dogs running around exploring. If you continue on the trail begins to descend at once although it’s not difficult to navigate I would still recommend you watch your footing. It’s nice the forest engulfs you and as far as the eye can see there is dense brush and trees everywhere! Green is all over! Horses take this trail as well so remember to share the road, especially if you have kids and/or dogs. The trail zig-zags its way down the mountainside and once you hit the bottom it’s mostly level and an easy stroll to look around and enjoy the sites. At this point you are given a choice which trail to take, one for different levels of hikers, I am obviously a beginner as Beowolf and I are weekend warriors. So we take the shorter hike.

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This trail takes you around the mountain and through some smaller paths. You walk alongside a beautiful stream that leads you to the river (shallow and slow), this is great during the summer when it’s hot to let the kids play or dogs romp and cool off. By now, if your dog is anything like Beowolf, he has pulled so much he gave himself a workout and cool water will do him good! Following along the trail there is so much foliage it’s amazing, the smell is invigorating and sweet, while even in the middle of summer it won’t get too hot as there is so much shade!

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Eventually, the trail begins its incline which isn’t too bad, it’s not too steep or for long but by now you’ve been walking and so it’s enough to get your heart rate up. It will open up into a meadow as you reach the top, this is usually where I rest and get some water, there are still lots of trees and shade so again it’s not so bad.

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Following along you reach the Hidden Falls lookout, which is basically a giant patio that overlooks the river and one of the smaller waterfalls. Depending on the time of year this may be closed off, usually due to construction or repairs, etc. It was closed every time I went (yes the website does show this as well, but other trails lead to different aspects of several waterfalls). Continuing on it then leads to a very small path that apparently cows graze up to on the other side, as there is a gate that is to stay closed at all times so the cows don’t walk through and get lost. I never saw any cows, but I know they were there as there was poop.

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This small path leads to a tiny fork in the road, going one way and you continue with the trail, however going the other way and it leads you to another place to overlook the river. There is also a beaten path that leads down to the water, it’s pretty easy to navigate and it’s worth descending for, as there are lots of large rocks to sit on and enjoy the water. It’s also a very shallow area with a nice bank to enjoy the cool water and a nice rest. Which of course I had to let Beowolf play in the water, he was so grateful.

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Then we went back up to the trail to go ahead further. Because we were on the short trail we eventually ended up back to the trail map at the beginning of the hike, coming around from the opposite side. Getting back to the parking lot, we had to zig-zag our way back UP the mountain, which it was great going down but not so great going up as the entire time you’re climbing. I clipped the leash to Beowolf’s harness so he could help me up a bit, as he still had the strength and energy to pull me up I let him.

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We passed a few horses on the way up which is always nice for 2 reasons: 1- I like looking at horses. 2- There isn’t a lot of room on this path so someone has to move aside and let the horses pass, this gave us opportunities to stop for a quick break as we waited for them to go by. As we reached the top and exit the forest the sun will greet you with a hot slap to the face! I usually take a wider trail that circles through the meadow, allowing Beowolf to run more freely on the long leash and gives myself a chance to just stroll through and catch my breath. There’s also another area where you can overlook the valley as you stand on top of a peak so to speak. We rested and drank more water before calling it a day and heading back to the car.

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All in all, it was a great day! I love this hiking spot for its beautiful green scenery and easy accessibility to the river. I wish that when I go next time I’m either in better shape to take a harder hike and make it to the main waterfall, or the lookout deck is open so I can get some great pictures!

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I would rate this trip a 5 out of 5.

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Roads: Paved the entire way to the parking lot and it’s an easy drive to get there.

Trails: Clean and well maintained. Do watch out for poison ivy off the paths, but there shouldn’t be an issue if you stay on the trails. Everything is marked with arrows and signs where to go and how far you’ve gone.

Environment: It’s covered with foliage but the trails still give you a lot to work for so bring water and comfortable clothes. As well as snacks as all the trails lead to the main picnic area to stop and rest or eat.

Gear: Camelback for sure. Hiking boots aren’t necessary on the short trail but I do not know about the longer trails, yet I see people wear all kinds of shoes, and they seem fine. I had Beowolf wear a hiking pack to carry his own water and food, along with his pet first aid kit and a pair of boots just in case. He didn’t need the boots this time, and a friend went with us and so his dog shared “Pack duties” carrying the load for half the trail.

Hydration Camelback

Dog boots

K9 Hiking pack

Alltrails.com: I love this app. It gives me important information about potential sites to see and is always a reliable resource.

This trail will always be a staple for me when I’m in the area and looking for someplace green to visit. Check it out and you will see why I love it!

Salutations!

Enjoy these photos!
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