Onto the Next Chapter

Starting a new chapter in ones life should be exciting, right? So, why do I kind of feel like shit about it? Don’t get me wrong, a part of me is very excited, but the other part of me feels guilty, resentful and slightly embarrassed.

For the past 6 years, I have worked in the social services field. I have worked in a homeless shelter, a second stage residential building and for the past year and a bit, I have worked as a homeless outreach worker.

As a youth, I was always rebellious. I marched to the beat of my own drum (and still do). The problem was that no one really takes you seriously when you don’t know what you’re fighting for, or against. I was a rebel and an asshole with no purpose. I took so much comfort in finding my passion within social justice and supporting marginalized populations. I finally had something to fight for and a system to push back against.

I was good at my job. I was resourceful, creative and took initiative. I fought very hard for the people I supported and supported them without judgement. My favourite clients were actually the sex offenders, prolific offenders and street entrenched. I don’t know why, I just found them the easiest to work with. They had a no nonsense/no bullshit type of approach, which I could relate to.

When I stepped into my role as a homeless outreach worker, I was given a brand new program and not a ton of support or guidance. It was up to me to build the program into what I wanted it to be and it started out great, but quickly started to falter.

I was supporting 100+ people in my community. My support ranged from emotional, life skills building, social skills building, housing help, employment help, rental subsidies etc… I was busy. I liked it though because I felt like I had purpose.

I had housed a number of people in a particular apartment building. Things were rocky to start and I spent multiple times per week at that building to ensure that my clients there felt supported and so that we could work on goals together.

It wasn’t good enough though. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to provide 24-hour support and what people do is ultimately out of my control. So, as soon as the cat was away (me), the mice (my clients) would play! Subsequently, they were constantly getting into trouble with the resident manager.

One by one, my clients were being evicted. Despite my efforts, there was nothing that I could really do. The owner of the apartment building ended up putting in a complaint about me with the mayor, which of course, went back to my Executive Director.

I had to have a chat with my ED and essentially plead my case. He stated to me, “I’m being told that you are providing rent subsidies to prostitutes.” I kind of thought that was my job? He quickly informed me that by providing a prostitute with a rental subsidy, I am only subsidizing her drug habit. I was also informed that “we” do not want to help “those” people and that “those” people are not worth helping.

That is when things started to go downhill for me and the career that I had nurtured, grown and cherished for the last 6 years of my life. 6 years may not seem like a lot to some people, but that 6 years makes up the bulk of my working life.

I just couldn’t imagine myself continuing to work with an agency whose values were clearly the polar opposite of mine. My belief is that everyone is deserving of empathy, support and housing, no matter where they are in their journey. I felt as though my own passion and personal growth was being thwarted by people in positions of power who had never worked on the front line. I felt as though, perhaps, the agency was the very corrupt system that I was supposed to be fighting against.

My workload increased as the ED decided to micromanage me in an attempt to ensure that I no longer helped “those” people. I felt bad for needing to go behind people’s backs, be vague and purposely leave out pieces of information to ensure that my clients still received support. When asked, “Are they an addict?” My response was often, “I’ve never personally seen them use any substances, so I cannot speak to that.”

I felt more and more rundown. I felt more and more resentful. I felt more and more anger and disgust. I felt slightly embarrassed that I no longer wanted to stand up and fight. I felt guilty when I had thoughts of leaving my job because I felt like I was abandoning the most vulnerable people in my community.

I started to develop a game plan. I knew that I wasn’t able to continue like this forever and that leaving my job would be in my near future, no matter how much I hated the thought of leaving my clients behind. I started to explore employment and educational opportunities. I thought about going back to school to finish a criminal justice diploma. I thought about getting my BA in Sociology. I thought about working in a prison. I thought about applying to work with the Mission-Abbotsford ACT Team. I realized however, that I was burnt out. I was burnt out to the point where I no longer wanted to be in a helping profession. I no longer wanted to support people in the capacity that I was.

So, I thought, “What else am I passionate about?” The answer was pretty simple, “dogs”. I thought, “I have been able to train Thalia pretty well, I could probably go to school and learn how to train other people’s dogs.” I spoke with a couple of my PSA teammates and they both encouraged me to apply for Good Dog Academy to become a certified professional dog trainer.

As I continued going to work, I really tried to tie up any loose ends that I had there. I stayed until all my cheques were written and my clients in crisis had found housing. When I finished up, I went to the doctor. The doctor put me on 6 weeks leave from work with the expectation that I check in with him and let him know what I plan on doing with my life.

I applied for GDA, paid my registration fees and some of my course fees. I also attended the orientation, which essentially just laid out the ground rules.

Now, here I am. This will be the first day of actual classes. I truly am excited to be starting a new chapter and being able to find another career that I am passionate about. I’m also shitting my pants a little bit because it’s been a couple years since I have been in a classroom. It’ll be an adjustment, for sure. I still feel guilty about abandoning my clients. At the end of the day though, their crisis can’t be my crisis. Right now, I need to look out for myself. I also feel like, a lot of people didn’t really take me seriously as an outreach worker. They didn’t get it. They didn’t understand my passion and essentially, they looked down on me for working with vulnerable populations. I’ve never really cared what other people think, but I do wonder what those people will think of me now? Will they talk even more shit behind my back because, in their eyes, I’ve gotten an even more ridiculous job than before? Will they bring up the fact that I wasted 10’s of thousands of dollars on certificates and diplomas that I’ll never use again? Will they question how much I’m spending on the PDT certificate and wonder how quickly the novelty will wear off and how quickly I’ll be on to the next thing? At the end of the day, I don’t really care. One thing I’m sure of is that it will be a topic of conversation at the next family function that I am dragged to. Does it really matter? No.


I will be off work for the next 5-6 weeks, as per the doctor. So, I took today as an opportunity to start unwinding and getting back in touch with myself and the things that I enjoy doing.

One of the things that I enjoy most is getting outside to explore with the dogs. Today, I took Tashie out with me to the Dewdney Grind. It’s just a little bit past Suicide Creek, so it’s quite close to where we live – Maybe a 5-10 minute drive.


As we embarked on our journey up the mountain, Tashie already appeared to be tired, LOL!13537627_1812111339019827_25414048743014166_n.jpg

We really couldn’t ask for better scenery. I just love the way the light hits the green leaves and ferns. It brightens everything up and changes the surroundings from a dark, forest green to an electric, lime green.


After climbing up rock faces and holding onto the tree roots for stability, we finally reached a point in the trail that seemed to level out a bit and was less gruelling. Tashie decided to nestle into the wildflowers to take a quick break!



Making the trek down the mountain. I’m not sure which was harder… Going up and going down…


Back at the car and ready to head home! Our hike lasted about 1 hour with a few very quick breaks. It was not an easy hike by any means, but Tashie was a trooper! I wonder what we’ll get up to tomorrow?!


(Sorry about the crappy phone photos!)

Adventure Time

Exercise is important when it comes to all dogs. With Angus though, it’s important because low impact exercise helps to build scar tissue in his knee, which will mimic the ligament that is torn. I exercise Angus on a variety of surfaces; flat, incline, rocky, soft, grass, hard etc… Although, I wasn’t always able to do so. Every week his knee is becoming stronger and more stable. We are able to go for longer walks and more strenuous walks.

Typically, every morning starts with a cup of coffee and an early morning walk with Angus before work. Usually, due to the constraints, our morning walks are at a slough near our house. The walk around the slough is a 40-45 minute walk. I did not have work today, so I took the opportunity to take Angus somewhere that we don’t normally go; Suicide Creek. It is a fast moving creek with a rocky shore. There are trails along both sides of the creek and during the summer, it’s usually quite busy. Suicide Creek is filled with glacial water that comes down off of Cascade Falls. Needless to say, the water is COLD! On a hot summer day though, it’s nothing short of refreshing.


A sneak peek at the water and rocky shore.


The trail that we walked down. There were cars parked along the side of the road when we got there, which indicated that we would not be alone. There are no leash rules at Suicide Creek, so I was worried about people having off leash dogs running around because Angus is reactive. So we walked down this trial, which was on the right side of the road. In my experience, the left side of the creek has always been more popular as the pools of water are deeper. If you walk down the left side far enough, there is even a cave.


The trail took us down onto the rocks. Angus is looking pleased with where I chose to take him for a walk.


We found a nice sandy spot to walk along, which is easier on his knee.


Looking back behind us. It so beautiful and relaxing here.


Looking at the walk ahead of us.


We didn’t see or hear anyone, so I let go of his leash so that he could walk in the water. I kept him on a 10 ft leash, so that it would be easy for me to grab onto, if needed.


Shake it off!


He found a stick on our journey. What a goofy boy.


We found a spot without a current and a deep pool of water. It was already starting to warm up quite a bit, so Angus took a dip in the pool.


Bringing me back a piece of bark.


Apparently people have been using Suicide Creek as a dumping ground for stolen vehicles. We saw various car parts on our walk all rusting out and eroding from the water’s current.


Back on the sand, Angus decided to dig some holes. Angus has always loved to dig in the sand. It’s weird because he never digs up the yard, only when we’re out and about. I’ve been wanting to build him a sandbox at home that he can use to dig in. I think it’s great exercise for him.


Hey, buddy, you’ve got a sand-stache.



“It’s time to go home already?!”


“We can come back though, right?”

All in all, our walk took about 1 hour. It was nice to be able to give Angus something a little different; A new place to explore.

‘Pit Bull’ Is Not A Breed!

(This post’s title probably just got some people’s blood boiling, hahaha)

Lets talk about this for a moment because I completely disagree with this statement, which I often hear from wing nut animal rights activists, the rescue/shelter system and the media. Sadly, this misconception that every medium sized dog with a large, blocky head and a compact, muscular body is a pit bull has seeped its way into the minds of the general public, which in turn, has become the foundational building blocks for BSL.

I am a firm believer in that the term Pit Bull should be used to refer to the one and only, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). The APBT is a recognized purebred breed with the UKC and ADBA. When you think about it, there is only one breed of dog with ‘Pit Bull’ in it’s name and that is the American Pit Bull Terrier, so it makes the most sense that Pit Bull is simply the shorthand version of American Pit Bull Terrier, not an umbrella term to describe a  bunch of purebred dogs and mixes of those breeds.

Why have people started to use the term Pit Bull to describe a myriad of different recognized breeds and mixes? I think that the media is to blame for this as they are not exactly experts in breed identification and so began the breed misidentification. It didn’t take long before American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and mixes started being referred to as, “Pit Bulls” simply because people didn’t know what a true APBT looked like. All they see is a medium sized dog with a blocky head, so it must be a pit bull, right?!

Ask a proud and knowledgeable SBT or AST owner if they own a pit bull and they will tell you, “NO!” So many people refer to Thalia as an, ‘itty bitty pitty” and I ALWAYS correct them and inform them that she is in fact a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.


(My Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Thalia. No, she is not the cutest pitty you’ve ever seen. No, she’s not an itty bitty pitty. She is a Staffy/Stafford/SBT. End of Story.)


(My mutt, Angus. No, he’s not a Pit Bull. I honestly have no clue what he is. He was given to me as a purebred American Staffordshire Terrier, but certainly doesn’t look like one. So, your guess is as good as mine.)

Using the term Pit Bull to describe multiple breeds of dogs is damaging to those breeds because it fuels the fire for communities to introduce Breed Specific Legislation. It has been well documented that Breed Specific Legislation DOES NOT WORK. Ontario is a prime example of this. They have had a breed ban in place for about 10 years now. Are “pit bull” bite statistics down? Yes. Are overall dog bite statistics down? No. They are still seeing the same number of dogs bite per year despite eliminating the ‘dangerous breeds’ from their province.

You can imagine the toll this ban has taken on many people, families and dogs. People being forced to choose; Give up my dog, or move to another province that doesn’t have BSL? Dogs are being euthanized for no reason other than they have been labeled as a, ‘dangerous breed’, yet there is nothing documented to back up the claim that the dog has actually acted dangerously. I personally could not imagine the turmoil I would go through if someone gave me that ultimatum… I would certainly be looking at moving into another community and perhaps another province, which would mean leaving my friends and family behind. It would just be awful.

I think it’s important to note that bite statistics come from media reports and if everyone is referring to Staffords, American Bulldogs, AmStaffs and mixed breed dogs as pit bulls, then yeah, the statistics are going to look bad and that will have a detrimental effect on the breeds that we love and are passionate about.

Please, do some research on various breeds and what those breeds truly look like and what their true characteristics are. Make conscious and deliberate choices when guessing or labeling a dog as a certain breed.

#MyLifeWithDogs #Thalia #Angus #StaffordLife #StaffyPride #MixedBreedLove #APBT #TheOneAndOnly #AmericanPitBullTerrier #SBT #StaffordshireBullTerrier #BreedIdentification #BSL #BreedMisidentification

Nail Trimming Done The Cheap And Easy Way

If there is one thing that Angus hates, it’s having his nails trimmed. His nails are very thick and strong, so I imagine most of this hatred comes from the traditional nail clippers causing him a lot of discomfort when they squeeze and cut his nails.

Cutting his nails is not a one person job. It takes both Jason and myself to complete the task and honestly, we could use a third person to help sometimes. He will wriggle around, pull his paws away from us, bark, growl and yelp. Jason will have to literally sit on Angus while I hold his head and provide him with a continuous stream of treats. Still, he’s constantly trying to move, which makes getting his nails short a problem because we really don’t want to quick him and cause him even more discomfort. All in all, it’s a traumatizing experience for him. It got to the point where I considered having him sedated at the vet to have his nails trimmed, but the cost (approx.  $200) prevented me from being able to go that route.

I started to try to work within his comfort levels and slowly start desensitizing him to the clippers, but it was taking far too long and his nails were getting so long that I can only assume that simply walking was causing him some discomfort. I needed to find a quicker solution.

Someone suggested to me that a ‘scratch board’ might be helpful in our situation. A scratch board is simply a wooden board with sandpaper taped to it. I use 150 grit sandpaper. The piece of wood was something that I found in our shop, I already had the duct tape, so all it cost me was the $2.00 for the sandpaper.


(This is my scratch board that I use with Angus. As you can see, it is literally just sandpaper duct taped to a wooden board. It’s a cheap and easy alternative to nail clippers)

It was actually really easy to train Angus to scratch. The first few times, I would take his paw in my hand and say, ‘scratch’ while I did a scratching motion on the board with his paw. Then, he’d get a treat. It really didn’t take more than a couple sessions before he was consistently scratching the board on his own. Initially, he would get a treat every time he scratched the board, but now I can get in 5+ scratches on the board before giving him a treat. I use this method twice a week in short, fun sessions with Angus.


Here is a quick video showing how exactly it’s done!

Now that I can keep Angus’ front nails relatively short, I can really start working on desensitizing him to either the nail clippers, or the Dremel.

Flirt Pole; The Game Changer

A flirt pole is a staple in my household when it comes to exercising Thalia. Not only is it an effective way to exercise her, but it’s also cheap and super easy to make.

What is a flirt pole?

Essentially, it’s a piece of pvc pipe (4-6 ft) with rope (8-12 ft) strung through it (you could also use a lunge whip). Tie a knot at the bottom end of the pole. At the end of the rope, you can tie a piece of leather, a favourite toy, or tug. There are companies that sell ready-made flirt poles. Honestly though, if you go out into your garage, I’m sure you could find the materials needed to make your own. Otherwise, the materials should cost you between $5-$10.


(This is not my personal flirt pole, but gives you a good sense of what you’re aiming for.)

How do you use a flirt pole?

Essentially, what you’re looking to do is to ‘tease’ the dog with the toy at the end of the pole. Move the toy along the ground and allow the dog to chase the toy. You can drag the toy in a straight line, in a circle or zig zag it. Have fun. It’s kind of like playing keep away. I don’t want Thalia to ALWAYS get the toy because then it becomes less fun. The more she misses the toy, the more interest is built up; the more she really wants to get that toy.

Be careful about allowing the dog to jump too high to catch the toy. You could injure your dog. The lower to the ground you keep the toy, the safer the game will be.

Now, this toy works GREAT for Thalia, but Angus couldn’t be bothered. He just doesn’t have the same drive as she does. So, just be aware that this toy might not be the toy for your dog if your dog couldn’t be bothered to play chase.


This is a perfect DIY toy for a high prey drive dog like Thalia. You can make the game as fast paced, or slow paced as you want, which is great because you can tire an energetic dog out pretty quickly using this toy! Not only that, but it also requires minimal effort from the human. Let me tell you, there are days when I get home from work and I’m just exhausted. I don’t want to go for a long walk, I don’t want to go for a bike ride, I don’t want to do much of anything other than relax. So, I compromise – I get out into the yard with the flirt pole for a quick session and it’s always proven to be highly effective!



(I was trying to capture a photo of her chasing the flirt pole… Sadly, I was unable to get a photo that was in focus. I like to think that speaks to how much fun and fast paced this toy can be!)



Securely Containing An Escape Artist

I’ve joined a number of FaceBook groups dedicated to community that I live in. Almost daily, these pages are flooded with posts about missing pets and dogs that have gotten loose. Some dogs are being posted multiple times a week and no one seems to think this is odd or troublesome. In fact, they seem to think that it’s cute, or charming and that these dogs are just adorable little escape artists.

I personally just don’t understand  how this happens multiple times a week for some people. I have NEVER had a dog get off of my property by itself.

It begs the questions, why is this happening? How are the owners of these dogs allowing this to happen time and time again? Are they not learning that their methods of containment are not working? Do they not care? Do they think that their dogs are invincible and won’t get hit by a car, attacked by another dog, or picked up by animal control? Do they think their dog won’t wander into that guy’s yard who is known for sprinkling poison on his lawn to stop stray animals dead in their tracks? These are risks that I simply would not take with my own dogs.

The 3 most popular methods of containment are; crate, outdoor kennel and chaining/tethering. All of these methods are subject to scrutiny and controversy. Neither of these options are inherently abusive, or bad. You need to go with what works for you and your situation.


(Angus and Thalia don’t normally share a crate, but sometimes they enjoy napping together)

A lot of people turn to crating their dogs while they are at work. I use dog crates and prefer the wire ones. I had plastic crates for Thalia when she was a puppy and she managed to chew her way out of 2 of them. Since then, I have always used wire crates. They range from $50-$200 depending on the size you need. They are pretty sturdy and secure. I have never had a dog be able to get out of one, but I have certainly heard stories of this happening! It is a good idea if your dog cannot be trusted to roam freely in the house while you are away. The negative is that crates do not provide a whole lot of room for movement and dogs can get bored and frustrated when left for long periods of time. Some people view a dog crate as a, “doggy jail” and you will get some scrutiny from time to time over that fact. At the end of the day, as long as your dog is still getting adequate exercise and mental stimulation, spending a bit of time each day in a crate isn’t going to leave your dog any worse for wear.

Outdoor kennels are another way of containing your dog while you’re at work. They give your dog a bit more room than a regular dog crate and they can be outdoors, if that is something your dog enjoys. The average outdoor kennel provides a dog with approximately 120 sq ft. of room to move and play. My issues with outdoor kennels is that they’re made of chain-link fencing. I have dogs that will not only climb their way out of an outdoor kennel, but they would also dig and tunnel their way out, which is counterproductive.


(Angus is clearly not upset that he is tethered in the yard. Instead, it provides him with a comfortable, safe way to be outside in our yard to nap and sunbathe)

Lastly, and probably the most controversial, is chaining or tethering your dog outdoors. I personally have no issues with this method of containment provided the dog has adequate shelter, the area is kept clean, has access to water on hot days as well as toys to occupy the dog’s time.  An average 15 ft chain/tether length provides your dog with 706 sq ft. of room to move and play. Please, ensure that the size of chain you use is proportionate to the size and strength of your dog. Do not use a chain that you think your dog might be able to break and similarly, don’t use a chain that is unnecessarily heavy. Ensure that your dog is wearing a flat collar. Do not use a harness, chain or prong collar when tethering your dog. Ensure that the collar is sturdy enough that it won’t break. Anchor the chain with an airplane tie down. Put the set-up in an area where the dog will not get tangled around something. Lastly, this should not be a permanent place for your dog to be. I understand that for some working dogs, that is reality. For the average down owner however, the dog should still get ample human contact, one on one play and training, and adequate exercise.

If chaining/tethering is an option that you would like to explore, please check out these articles for further information:



While, I don’t typically chain my dogs, I have taken to chaining Angus on a regular basis when I am outside with him. This is purely because of his knee injury and the fact that he cannot be running around with me off leash in the yard. I still want him to have human contact and to be able to enjoy sun bathing in the yard with me, so I tie him up with a 15-20 ft. tether and he is free to roam the yard, sunbathe, play with Thalia etc… without the risk of further injury. In addition, our yard is only partially fenced. Tethering Angus ensures that he doesn’t slip out of our yard and go into someone else’s, or worse, near the road. It is a safe and comfortable way for him to enjoy our outdoor space with us.



Rainy Days Ahead!

Well, we’re forecasted to get some rain and cooler temperatures over the next few days here. That means that walking the dogs will be less enjoyable and playing frisbee outside, going to the creek and out for hikes are unlikely to happen.

So, what do you do to keep your dog physically and mentally fit when the weather isn’t permitting getting outside to exercise? There are a lot of things that I do to keep the dogs happy while being cooped up indoors.


  1. Working on the peanut ball. I like to work on Thalia’s core and balance using a peanut ball. I can have her sit, stand and ‘sit pretty’ on the ball. With Angus, it’s simply a weight shifting exercise to promote him putting more weight on his bad knee, which we are trying to strengthen.

2. Scent-based games. There are a few different scent-based games that you can play with your dogs. The first is, “Which hand?” Hide a treat in one of your hands. Make a fist with both hands and present them to your dog. Ask, “which hand?” and have the dog let you know which hand they think the treat is in. If they guess right, give them the treat! Similarly, you can play the shell game. Get 3, or more coloured cups/buckets and put a treat under one of them. Have your dog sniff the cups/buckets and identify which one they think the treat is in. If they identify the correct one, give them the treat. Then, simply get another treat and shuffle the cups/buckets around. Lastly, place pieces of kibble or treats around the house. Allow your dog to go on a treasure hunt and track down all the goodies.

3. Do a little obedience work with your dog! A 10-15 minute mental workout can be exhausting for your dog! So, why not take the opportunity to brush up on your dog’s skills/manners, or teach them a new trick! Depending on the amount of skills your dog knows, you can do something referred to as, “doodling”. Doodling is something that I often do with Thalia and it really helps keep her on her toes and focused on me. Doodling is issuing quick, spontaneous commands. With Thalia, it might look like, “Sit, stand, down, heel, finish left, around, front, heel, down, sit, stand etc….”. This keeps things fun and quick paced for your dog!

4. Kong Wobbler. My dogs have a Kong Wobbler and absolutely love it! You can unscrew the bottom and fill it with treats. The dogs have to push the Wobbler over a certain way in order for it to dispense the treats. Check it out here: http://www.petsmart.ca/supplies-training/toys/kong-wobbler-trade-treat-dispenser-dog-toy-zid36-9900/cat-36-catid-100118;pgid=NmJwEzbPWNBSRpcQPFeR5YCP00002ml8bhXD?_t=pfm%3Dsearch%26SearchTerm%3Dkong+wobblersfd

5. Puzzle toys. Angus LOVES puzzle toys. He has a few that we play with regularly. This is another way to provide your dog with a mental workout. Similarly to the Kong Wobbler, the idea is that the dog has to figure out the correct way to get the treat out of the toy. One in particular that Angus has, is different flaps that he has to lift with his nose to be able to get the treat out.

6. Shopping trip! Take your dog out to some pet-friendly shops. This will be enjoyable for both you and your dog and will reinforce proper socialization. This is also a good opportunity to practice those obedience skills with distractions.

7. Hall ball! Get your dog’s favourite ball and have a game of fetch in the hallway.

8. Tug ‘o war. Have a game of tug with your dog. This is good exercise and also a good chance to practice that, “out” command!

Crate and Rotate

A lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that  2 of my dogs are on a crate rotation schedule. They’ll often say, “I don’t know how you do it!” Or, “I could never do that.” Or even, “Why don’t you just get friendlier dogs instead?” At the end of the day, this is my pack and none of them are leaving. It’s my job to make sure they stay safe and this is the best solution that I have come across to date.

The fact is, our crate rotation schedule provides me with peace of mind and confidence knowing that I’m not going to have to separate two fighting dogs, deal with any injuries or a possible  fatality.

When you have a dog that is aggressive, which would you rather do? Walk on eggshells all day long waiting for the next fight to happen? Be paying out your ass for stitches and antibiotics and for wounds to be wrapped and cleaned? Feeling on edge 24/7 because the dogs may or may not fight and you’ve got to be ready for when they do? Or, would you rather have a simple system put in place to protect both dogs from getting injured while still being able to enjoy and spend time with both dogs?

Personally, I’ve got enough daily stress in my life. I don’t need to be consumed by the notion that one day my dogs might kill each other. I also don’t think that its fair to the dogs to be putting them in harms way. What type of quality of life are you providing them with if you aren’t mitigating the ability for a fight to break out. Also, living in a constantly stressful environment simply isn’t healthy for anyone.

One thing that I have run into is that people assume that because a crate rotation exists in my household, my dogs have zero quality of life. I’ll clear that up right now: My dogs have very fulfilling lives and I’ll explain how it works in our house.


In the home, we rotate the 2 female dogs every 2-4 hours. Does this mean that they might spend time in their crates a little more than your average dog? Perhaps. Does that mean they aren’t regularly exercised and cared for? Not at all.

During the 2-4 hours that one dog is out, they are not only exercised, but we do obedience training as well as just relax on the couch. Then we alternate.

On warm days, I will take one dog outside and leave the other in the house uncrated. So, we are rotating from inside to outside and they aren’t confined to their crate.


In addition to being exercised at home, they also both get to go out on separate hikes, trips to the creek as well as to sports (Rally-O, Dock Diving, PSA, Nose Work etc…). When one dog is out at their sport activity, the other is free to be in the house.


At night, we alternate which dog gets to sleep in bed with us.


Crate rotating is simply a safety measure that I have put in place to ensure that I can continue enjoying both of my dogs without having to worry about any potential fights. It creates a safe, calm and relaxing environment for both of my dogs and I. Despite the stigma attached to crate and rotate schedules, I will continue to use this method simply because it is what works best in my household. It has become second nature to us, doesn’t take up any additional time out of our lives and gives us the ability to truly enjoy our dogs.



Bone Broth – The Healing Elixir

Angus has had two cruciate tears on the same knee. Both times, I have opted for conservative management rehab vs. surgery (the reasons why will be in another post). For now, I want to discuss bone broth and how it’s helped Angus through both recoveries and how it can help you dog, even if your dog doesn’t have an injury.

Bone broth can be used for both dogs and humans. It is simply soup/marrow bones placed in a slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker up with water and about 1-2 teaspoons of Apple  Cider Vinegar. I prefer an organic vinegar with the ‘mother’. Set the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 24 hours, or more. If you’re making this broth for a human, you could add in vegetables and herbs/spices, but I like to keep it very plain and simple for my dogs. I have made this broth using beef bones, pork bones, chicken bones/feet etc… Whatever I am able to easily find at the butcher, or grocery store. After it’s finished cooking, I skim everything off the top, remove the bones and voila!

After refrigerating your broth, it may get gelatinous. That’s okay! You haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, that is a sign of quality! Bones and the connective gristley bits of tissue on the bones are full of collagen, which through the slow and low cooking process, have been infused into your broth. Your broth should look like Jello-O after it’s cooled and don’t worry, it will turn to a liquid again if you warm it up.

Bone broth is packed full of glucosamine. Glucosamine reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new cartilage. Bone broth is also chock full of chondroitin. Chondroitin works alongside glucosamine. While glucosamine is building up new cartilage, chondroitin is blocking the enzymes that break down cartilage. When a dog experiences trauma to a joint, the amount of destructive enzymes in that area increases, so you can see how the use of bone broth to neutralize those enzymes and to build up new cartilage would be paramount for your dog.

That’s not to say that you should only use bone broth after there has been an injury. You can use it as a preventative measure as well to ensure that your dog’s joints are kept as healthy as possible to avoid future injury.

My senior dog also gets bone broth daily to help her with her arthritis. Again, it’s about protecting her joints and keeping the inflammation down to a manageable level.

Bone broth has many uses aside from promoting healthy joints. It has also been proven to be effective for digestion issues, leaky gut and can act as an immune system booster (think of it as a multivitamin for your dog!).

All 3 of my dogs get bone broth daily, but it all started when I was researching ways to help Angus recover from his CCL tear. One pot lasts us about a week, so I just store it in the fridge and it keeps just fine. If you make a larger batch and need to freeze it, simply pour it into an ice cube tray and pop out a cube or two for a meal. Otherwise, you could also can it.