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:
You saw it go in
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)
Sneezing a lot
Bleeding from nose
Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
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.
Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
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!
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)
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a Dog-friendly beach you must check out Ocean Beach dog 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.
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.
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.
I have never had trouble finding parking, but it can get full depending on when you go.
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**
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.
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.
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.
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**
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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**
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.
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).
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*
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.
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.
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 Freemanwhich 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the past 9 years, I have lived side by side with Beowolf, my Timberwolf Malamute cross, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for him. He has gotten me out of some questionable situations, he helped me with my battle with depression, and he is always there for me to this day. Being that he goes with me everywhere, since day 1 practically, I get asked all the time… how did I get him? What’s it like owning him? How is his temperament? Well to answer all of that I need to take you to the beginning because over the past 9 years life hasn’t been easy with a hybrid.
Before getting into the juicy details I would like to introduce you to my new book, Adventures of Puppy Raising. This is a compilation of everything I learned during the puppy years, as well as answering questions from other puppy owners and advice from working in the veterinary field. It has everything a puppy owner should need and then some!
Beowolf was given to me as a gift, he was purchased from a breeder in San Diego and was delivered to me as a surprise in Sacramento. Granted I knew about the puppy for a while before he was delivered so I had time to prepare and research, I was no dummy, I grew up with dogs and admired wolves, obsessed with them was more like it; but I knew that living with a mixed one would be different and boy was it.
First, he was a 3-month-old 30-pound puppy, so not only was he big but he was a baby as well. Knock off what we already know was difficult, teething, potty training, regular training, and socialization. The last 2 I had to wing it and tweak it for his nature. Wolves are social pack animals that spend a ton if not all of their time with each other, so needless to say Beowolf wanted to be around me all the time and would do anything to make that happen. Enter in the destructive phase, he destroyed carpets clawing at the door, and even pulled one completely from the floor and rolled it to the opposite corner of the room. He dug holes in the yard to break out of his kennel and bent most of the links pulling at the gate. He howled every freaking moment he was alone and even while he was with my roommates, he still wanted me. Which leads me to Bring my dog to work phase.
I worked at a movie theater… in a shopping center… there was no doggy daycare nearby and nobody could watch him anyways because he would cry for me, so I improvised. I figured, my Jeep with the back seats down was still a much bigger space than the biggest most expensive crate I could find, so he was better off staying in there. So I changed my hours to closing! and met up with the evening security guard to explain, luckily he was a friend of everyone who worked in the center. I introduced him to Beowolf who he instantly fell in love with, I showed him the bowl of dog food and ice water and had my windows open enough. Also, I parked behind the building where the shade and privacy were better so nobody would bother with him, yep Beowolf had his own condo and security. This went on for 3 months without a hitch until we moved in with friends from work. Big mistake, the other dogs in the house were very aggressive and attacked Beowolf, he was 8 months old needless to say we didn’t stay there long, a week to be specific.
Which leads to the following 6 years of moving and roommates and other housepets. I have no idea how we made it out of that alive, to be honest early on I recall kneeling in front of 6-month-old Beowolf cursing him and crying that he was sent from the devil. I was a little dramatic, but he ate my cellphone! Twice! On purpose! People mock me but he does do things on purpose, once people get to know him they find that to be true. We tackled a lot, food aggression, socialization, dog friendliness, no matter the challenge we came out together on the other side.
Everyone who meets him wants to get one of their own, I’m not ashamed to say that I often play dumb where I got him. The truth is, though he is a remarkable animal, it takes someone willing to work with a hybrid to get the results I did and frankly I still think of myself blessed that he was my first. He taught me a lot about patience, I did tons of research and countless hours of youtube videos on handling wolves and their instincts. This isn’t your typical labrador or energetic pitbull. He’s what’s considered a high content wolfdog, this means that I have no real idea how close his instincts are to surface, what can trigger him to do something and who will be like? He has energy because he was built to run 30 miles a day, he still to this day has separation anxiety because he wasn’t meant to be away from his family (me), just the other day he broke out of my window because I was simply 50 yards away talking with a group of people that were here for training! 50 yards, 50 yards!? Come on Beowolf, dammit.
People who meet him now swear there is something human in him, his ability to comprehend us when we talk to him, you can see him thinking and problem-solving in his eyes. He’s considerate and goofy as hell. But it’s his manner that intrigues people so much, he is wonderful around children, does amazing under pressure, calm in loud settings and even knows how to listen and behave himself when in public places (yes he goes everywhere with me.) He is a certified ESA and Seizure alert dog for me.
All in all a few things are true:
A hybrid in the right hands will make for an amazing animal, in the wrong hands they can be dangerous and left to make a bad name for the mix and the wolf species.
Their intellectual capacity is incredible, there is nothing that they can’t do and no challenge they can’t overcome, whether that’s in your favor or not is… 50/50.
They get big, big teeth, big claws, thick coats, and bigger shit. Beowolf is neutered and still marks and mounts females here and there, he is very dominant and will not back down to any dog so like I said those instincts are strong.
You’re gonna wanna watch them, study their body language like breathing, know what every twitch of his ears means. Each glance to me as a dog bothers him, is a request to get him out of that situation, intervene before your hybrid feels the need to do it himself. Understanding what you’re getting into is only half the battle, but you’ll thank me for that later. Why risk a lawsuit when you can take measures to protect your new best friend, California don’t play with dog bites loosely and most laws are tight on hybrids.
If you can, try and get one, they can be needy af and want all of your attention this can lead to other problems both for you and for them. Not to mention, when your pack is together 24/7 while you go to work every day, you may feed them but don’t think yourself that secure anymore, eventually, you will become the outsider. Not to mention, I have another dog and a cat, and though I love my other dog dearly, she was unexpected and I was really hoping that for once in his life Beowolf could be an only dog. Nonetheless, I try not to feel guilty about spending alone time with each of them, but I know, if Beowolf could have it his way, he would be the only dog in the house.
Separation anxiety is very likely and is not something to be played with. Chances are that most of the dogs you know personally have it, but only show a low grade; whining, pacing, panting. With hybrids it is different, you already read about the house destruction, but there’s more. He’s broken out of windows, climbed out of 2nd and 3 story windows and has been found on the roof several times. He has run away trying to find me, luckily I keep all of his tags updated and kind people called me to alert me that my Big dog is at their house. Honestly, it’s to the point where I worry less, not that someone wouldn’t steal him, they definitely would, but he has what I call a 3-day self-destruction period. He has only ever made it 2 days away from me staying with people he knew before he became uncontrollable to handle. It would surprise me that if he were stolen I would get a call or he would have broken out by day 3 for me to come and get my dog.
I hope my story with Beowolf has helped you if you were thinking of getting one, we had our ups and downs but I wouldn’t change the experience ever! The truth is, Beowolf is my heart and soul and there will never be another dog like him for me. Even though hybrids are a lot to handle a lot of the time, I probably won’t ever live without one for the rest of my life. Beowolf is my best friend, my therapist, and my ride or die, I can’t say that about any human ever in my life.
Don’t miss out on my book available on Amazon now! Includes everything all new puppy owners should know, as well as tips and advice from a veterinary professional! Check it out!
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