SUNday FUNday – Unleashed!

Giving thanks for the many ways God’s creatures’ enrich and bless our lives

Cher & Trigger
My friends Cher & Trigger 

I took my dog to church today for “blessing the animals.” He enjoyed the outing but I don’t think he’ll be begging to go back.  People brought their dogs, a cat and someone brought a stuffed chicken.

Jia Jia with my friend Colleen
Jia Jia with half of my friend Colleen

We are not religious but we can be spiritual.  If we had to choose a religion I think we’d consider ourselves to be Foodists above everything else.  Nevertheless a little churchgoing never hurt anyone and I have to give thanks to my furry little friends for keeping me safe and sane.  I really believe we are of service to each other and I can’t imagine life without them.

Tammy's Terrific Trio
Tammy’s Terrific Trio

This world can sometimes be a terrible place but animals make it better.  It’s a known fact that animals provide therapy and taking them to senior’s homes and prisons helps to calm people and make them happier.church2

Here is a little excerpt from a prayer called “Blessing the Animals”

Bless these creatures who come to us as a blessing

Fashioned of fur or feather or fin,

Formed of flesh that breathes with your own breath,

Bless them who can’t themselves

Around our hearts who twine themselves through our days

Who companion us in our labour

Who call us to come and play.

Bless them who will never be entirely tamed

And so remind us that you love what is wild,

That you rejoice in what lives close to the earth,

That your heart beats in the heart of those creatures

chuchchurch10You have entrusted to our care.

Can you really envision a world without animals?  I can’t!

I’m blessed to have Jia Jia & Jack (on occasion) in my life plus all the other neighbourhood animals that come around from time to time.

I met another Preast.  Her name is Tammy (below) and she has a company called “Love on a Leash” which provides trusted dog care services with a DogSafe overnight and vacation care environment, first aid and daily walks (including group walks).  You can visit her at:  http://www.loveonaleash.ca/

At Tartine
At Tartine

AFTER that we  went for coffee & dessert at Tartine Bakery on Davie St.  They were so busy they didn’t even realize there were two dogs inside the cafe. Bless them!

AFTER that I met Mimi from Mélange Home Design and Décor.  Her vision is to encapsulate a certain mixture of luxurious, vintage, and modern organic designs which I’ll be putting on this blog very soon.    A sampling:

Teaser
Teaser: how can you resist TOM FORD and  especially these stylish coffee table Books?

I hope you had a magnificent weekend.

AFTER that, I walked home
AFTER that, I walked home on a gorgeous summer Fall day.

THANKSGIVING is coming up very soooon!  We have to give thanks all over again.

I’m all for that!

Photos: d. king

what MATTERS: the bond between HUMAN & DOG

Brad & Kira11011566_10152718400661852_8284452701846702819_n

Brad is my brother and Kira is my niece.  Even though she’s a dog, Kira is still my niece.  Dogs are family and family is everything.  I sadly just found out that Kira was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.  I thought I would share something that Brad posted about the relationship between the two.  Something  that only those who have dogs can relate to.  Sometimes our bonds with animals are stronger than our bonds with people.  I think it’s because our animals (dogs in particular) don’t ask anything of us other than love.  It’s totally unconditional and so amazing that I feel sorry for those who have not experienced it (especially if they don’t have children). Brad & Kira Here is what Brad wrote:

This is the year my baby girl is supposed to turn 13. Given the way I raised her, I fully expect her to live into her late teens. Regardless of how long I am lucky enough to have her in my world, it won’t be nearly long enough. Anyone who owns a pet can attest to that.

When I look at my girl lying in the grass, sprinting up a hill, or swimming in her favorite watering hole, immeasurable warmth overtakes me. Over the past year or so I’ve been filled with urgency to express my gratitude for what she’s brought to my life, in many little ways. Even though she may not know what I’m saying, I still tell her; I love her, as if she does. My ritual has been to visit her on her daybed every night, kiss her on the head and tell her she means the world to me. I then wish her; love, health, happiness and longevity.

When I’m in town, she accompanies me to my office every day and sits in the big bay window in front of my desk. I can’t tell you the number of times she’s startled me and made me nearly jump out of my chair. Whenever someone walks by, or when she sees the cat that loves to torment her, or for any other reason that makes sense to her, she’ll start to bark.

I’d be lying if I said a shrill bark, reverberating off the glass didn’t bother me. More times than I care to admit I was on a radio interview, or on a conference call, only to realize there was nothing I could do until the person walked out of range, or the cat finally got bored and left. As much as I love that 17 pound ball of fur, those were the times I didn’t like her very much.

Well, yesterday it happened again! I was working away in my office, and sure enough she started to bark because something got her attention. My reaction however, was quite different this time; as I just stopped what I was doing and watched her until she calmed down.

It was as if I didn’t want her to stop barking, as it made me realize how alive she was. Instead of getting angry with her, I just smiled and told her in a gentle voice that it was ok, and then I said; I love you. And then I cried, uncontrollably and harder than I could ever remember, for what seemed a long, long time. The last time I cried like that was over 20 years ago when my mother passed away. I honestly thought I’d forgotten how to cry, but I didn’t.

You see, just the other day I found out my little girl has cancer and it seems to have spread almost overnight. I was hiking with her a couple of weeks ago, went on a 7-day speaking tour, and when I returned home she was different.

Gone was the 10 minute routine when I walked through the door, the one that always made me feel like I was her entire world. Instead I was met with a bit of a whimper and a slight wag of her tail, which seemed to take all the effort in the world to raise. There was sadness behind those beautiful brown eyes, and she just stared at me as if to say; Daddy, there’s something wrong, why do I feel this way.

So you see, even in the things that trigger you or make you angry, you can find love if you look deep enough. So now I can’t wait to hear her bark, and every time it happens I will smile and fill my heart with gratitude for having her in my world for as long as she’s willing to stick around.

Please send love and light her way, as she truly is an incredible little soul, and I wish so deeply for her to feel well again.11020261_10153363222311424_8027077531756354233_nYou bet Brad!

Feel-good Friday: Pitbulls in Flower Crowns

Why; is that so weird?pittbull10

I crown this Save a Pitbull Day!pittbull7What can be more uplifting than these Instagram photos…just be a CAUSEpittbull6As a way to find shelter pitbulls happy homes, New York City photographer Sophie Gamand takes ethereal shots of them wearing adorable homemade flower crowns.pittbull4

“I volunteer at animal shelters a lot, but I always tense around pit bulls because of things I’d heard in the media. I wanted to confront my apprehensions.” pittbull3“After researching, I found out that more than one million pit bulls are euthanized each year in the US,” she said. “Then the project started feeling more important to me.”pittbull2“Shoots can take one minute, or thirty minutes,” says the photographer. “It completely depends on the dog.” Gamand makes a unique flower crown for each pup.pitbull5Now try to top hat that??
www.sophiegamand.com
@sophiegamand

I deserve to be saved
I deserve to live

Won’t it make you feel good to save a dog (not just a pittbull, but any dog) from being euthanized?

As told to Bazaar Magazine

Words….straight from the Llamas mouth!

No, silly. Llamas can’t talk but if they could they’d say “We want to go back to Peru and walk the Inca Trail because it’s so much nicer than being kept in this pen with funny people staring and wanting to touch us.”

At the PNE
At the PNE                                                                                               D. King

Llamas are special.  Here are a few things you may not know about them:

Q: What’s more amazing than a talking llama? A: A spelling bee!

Q: What do you call a very fast llama? A: a Llamagini

Q: What’s llama’s favourite film? A: Llamadeus

Q: Who is the llama spiritual leader? A: The Dalai Llama

Q: What do you get if you stand between two llamas? A: llamanated

They can be creative
They can be creative

They like to enjoy a good night out (until things go bad):

A man and his pet llama walk into a bar. It’s about 5pm, but they’re ready for a good night of drinking. They start off slowly, watching TV, drinking beer, eating peanuts. As the night goes on they move to mixed drinks, and then shooters, one after the other. Finally, the bartender says: “Last call.” So, the man says, “One more for me… and one more for my llama.” The bartender sets them up and they shoot them back. Suddenly, the llama falls over dead. The man throws some money on the bar, puts on his coat and starts to leave. The bartender, yells: “Hey buddy, you can’t just leave that lyin’ there.” To which the man replies: “That’s not a lion, that’s a llama.”

Okay…..that’s enough (but must say I do love llamas).

Feel-good Friday: Picnic in the Park

It may be snowing in Calgary but here in Vancouver it turned out to be a picture PERFECT DAY for a bike ride and a picnic.  We’re so lucky.picnic1 - CopyNever plan a picnic‘ Father said. ‘Plan a dinner, yes, or a house, or a budget, or an appointment with the dentist, but never, never plan a picnic.” – Elizabeth Enright, The Four-Story Mistake.

picnic6

It wasn’t really planned so it was perfect!

An ordinary picnic can be made extraordinary simply by doing it with the right furry friends.

You are so funny. No; you are!
You are so funny.  No…you are! 

 

Gotta enjoy it while we can!
Gotta enjoy it while we can!
We are brothers!
We are brothers and can learn from each other!               D. King
We enjoy the ride!
We enjoy the ride and the fresh air.

When was the last time you went for a PICNIC?

Let's see if you can fit in my purse.
A little too big for my bag?  Oh well.

Photos: Ping (Lynn) Li

Of course it didn’t end here….there was also happiness (thank you to whoever invented happy hour) sitting outside enjoying the view at Kits Boathouse.

Debbie & Rosa
Debbie & Rosa

We should appreciate animals more

animals3  I’m not alone

Hillary Clinton and Prince William champion elephants. The National Institute of Health releases its research chimps. New York City plans an end to its carriage horses. Shark fins are banned again and again.  Will there be an end to animal cruelty?  I try to remain optimistic.animals4

animals2Animals are deserving of our respect and compassion.  For those of us fortunate enough to spend significant time around animals, we know that our relationships with animals improve us as people. If you stop to consider the positive results they produce in our overall well-being, it seems surprising that every household doesn’t own one. Animals are a part of nature that is too often overlooked despite the extensive benefits they provide for us.  Have you ever noticed that when you pet your dog or cat you feel more relaxed? The simple act of petting an animal creates a mutual physiological response in both the person and the animal, lowering the levels, blood pressure, and heart rate of both. They’re amazing creatures.animals1

Evidence now shows that some therapy dogs become so acutely attuned to people around them that they can even sense when a person is about to have a heart attack, before it actually occurs. One experienced service dog trainer explained to me that Schnauzers are known to detect the specific spot in the body where a person has cancer (McLaughlin Online). Companion animals have been used to achieve dramatic results in treating a wide range of physical and psychological conditions including: cancer, AIDS, ADHD, heart problems, and autism; as well as less severe conditions such as: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, loneliness, insomnia, and headaches.  That’s pretty amazing.

The below was taken from the Huffington Post – on the “Importance of Appreciating Animals”

Animals help us be better humans. Quite often, they show us how to be our best selves. Always in the moment, sticking their noses into everything (literally), they see a world that we take for granted, one we’re usually just hurriedly passing through on our way to lives we never quite reach.

ChichcutecropThe role of animals, and especially dogs, as roving ambassadors of goodwill can be seen most clearly in their role as therapy dogs. After the tragic massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, therapy dogs from all over the country were brought in to help the community, and especially the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Six months later Newtown held a “Day of Thanks” to show its gratitude. The gathering was attended by 50 dogs (and many more owners and residents). One parent explained that her daughter had had a rough time after the shooting. “But when she talked about the dogs that she saw every day at school, she lit up.”

TheDodo.com

We’re talking about a movement with compassion at its core. The Dodo would not be launching if not for Izzie Lerer, its co-founder and editor-at-large. Izzie is wrapping up her doctoral studies in philosophy at Columbia, where her research focuses on animal/human relationships. Her passionate and intelligent vision of this important subject is nothing short of wanting to change the world in the way animals are treated.

Sure, there will be cute videos on The Dodo, but we’ll focus on images you won’t feel conflicted about watching — as Izzie puts it, “we’ll celebrate animals, and not just laugh at them.” We plan to explore our fierce and fraught bond with animals broadly and enthusiastically, from animal testing to the ethical eating movement. Most people are still figuring out where they stand on a lot of these issues; one of my favorite voices belongs to  Bob Comis, a pig farmer in upstate New York, who openly grapples with the ethics of what he does, once writing: “What I do is wrong, in spite of its acceptance by nearly 95% of the American population. I know it in my bones, even if I cannot yet act on it.” We’re not saying we have all the answers, by the way. But we’re committed to searching for them.

 At least it’s a start!