676 – The Number You Need To Remember as a Dog Owner


It’s a beautiful day; don’t let it get away.

Orion and Sparta.  Brittany Graham Photography

Orion and Sparta. Brittany Graham Photography

This time of year can kinda suck if you have asthma.  Which I do.  I’ve got an upper respiratory infection on top of it.  I’m miserable. I feel like death warmed over.  In the history of sickness, I don’t think anyone has ever been as sick as I am right now.


Then I realized that I was being stupid.  The temperature is 53 degrees – warm for Cleveland (or the Arctic Tundra, but I repeat myself).  The sun is shining.  It’s an okay day for hiking, or at least going for a short walk with my best friend.  And here I was squandering it feeling sorry for myself, which is what I’ve been doing or the past 2 days.  Yes I’m legitimately sick.  But that doesn’t negate my dogs’ need for activity.  I’ve been cutting corners, using the treadmill for Orion, and a backpack plus some minor agility for Sparta, as outlined here and here, but nothing really beats a good walk.  Sunshine only adds to the benefit.  It was time for me to suck it up and go outside.  But I still don’t want to.

The lights...it hurts

The lights…it hurts

Then I saw an update in the mail from my dog’s vet, reminding me that Sparta was due for her rabies shot.  I looked through her medical records to verify, and stumbled across something that I’d forgotten: Sparta is  7 years old.

Now, that’s not such a big deal.  She’s not old (yet), but it did make me stop and reflect.  Most dogs live to be roughly 13 years old.  That equals only 676 weekends.   So far she’s almost exactly halfway through that allotment.  Technically speaking, she only has 338 weekends left with me.  That means, at the very most, we are down to 169 weekends to drive that hour down to Bow Wow Beach, so I can watch her swim.  We only have so many hikes left together.  Only so many more times she can jump into the backseat of my car without help.  And there I was, squandering this time because I have a cold.

Sometimes we think of dogs in human terms, including how much time we’re given together.  At 39 years my young(ish) age, I still have a lot of time left.  We tend to include our dogs in that time because we assume that they’ll always be there.   But there is a set amount of time with them.  Perhaps 676 seems like a lot of weekends to romp with with your dogs.  Enough time to do do anything  you want.  But I’ve already used up half of those with Sparta.

It made me think.  It made me, well…

Damn, I hate when that happens

So I took my dogs for a walk.  Not far.  Just far enough to change my perspective. Which was far enough to make me want to hike even farther.  I’m not going to waste today anymore.

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

A No Good, Very Bad Day

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is! – Dita Von Teese

Friday was a rough day for Porter and me. It wasn’t our best start to the day to say the least.

During meal time, I pushed the boundaries a little with Porter’s food aggression and it ended up with some snarling and some rebooting. We both did what we’re expected to do. He growled, showed his teeth and tried to back me off of his food. I did not even maybe take his hints to heart, and handled the situation calmly until it was over.

Then, during some play time, I threw his rope bone high for him. He loves catching it mid air. He thinks he’s pretty cool when he does it. However, I threw it a little too close to my suitcase that was out (which normally isn’t) and he ended up coming down on top of the suitcase awkwardly. He still caught the rope, though! I made him run a few laps and moved his legs around to make sure nothing was hurt. We seemed to be okay, but still. I just basically ran my dog into a standing object. Good job, Danika.

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

Lastly, as I was taking him outside to do his morning business, his leash became tangled underneath his legs. No big deal, we’ve all seen it happen. So I went to left his leg up to untangle him. Now, I don’t know if I moved his leg a way it didn’t want to go or if he was just being a baby (the latter option is most likely the right answer) but a yip came out and the death stare for a few seconds.

Alright, so three strikes for us that morning. Just not the most stellar morning. However, the best part about all three of those moments? Porter didn’t hold one grudge. Dogs are amazing.

Now, if I thought someone was trying to take my breakfast away, I would not be pleasant.

And then let’s imagine that same person had me run into a chair. That person is really not making a case for themselves that day.

Finally, the same person is trying to help, but hurts me by trying to untangle my scarf around my neck. Let’s be honest, I’m probably not talking to that person for the rest of the day.

But the wonderful thing about dogs is they don’t hold any grudges. They just move on! Porter didn’t hate me after any of those instances. In fact, it just took a quick shake and he was back to giving kisses and asking for some affection. It was as if nothing had ever happened.

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

And the best way to act as an owner when these bad days happen? Just like your dog. After each event, shake it off and move on. I didn’t hold on to any anger after the food aggression incident. Just moved on to the next thing. Hence, we were still having some play time.

I didn’t baby Porter after the following two incidents either. Nope, we just moved on like it was no big deal. I didn’t add any unnecessary energy or anxiety to the situations. Everyone okay? Everyone have all their limbs? Great! Moving on!

It’s okay to just move on from a situation. Whether it’s a bad walk, someone got into the trash or an awkward fall after your dog was pretending to be Air Jordan and catch the highest throw you’ve ever had. There’s no need to harp on the situation. They’ll get better with time and you can’t expect perfection every moment of every day. Just move on and experience the next moment. Your dog does it. So you should, too!

Keep calm and pilot on
Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH