Friday, November 20, 2020

The Greatest Gift


Most of us remember the wise words from  Dr. Suess,

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"

"Well, in Whoville they say - that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!"

 I believe, our pets often share the same message, gifts from the heart mean so much more; it is the laughs, homemade gifts, and the things you did to give back that will resonate most in your memory. Our pets don't care about the price of things, for them it's about the love and fun.

There is something about Christmas that puts that sparkly fairy dust in the air. We bake, we wrap, we want to give and make merry.

My furry friends and I would like to encourage you to share just a smidge of that magic in your heart and merriment and remember to give back in any way that resonates with your heart.

Giving back can be not only rewarding but fun. I really enjoy heading up charity pet photos with Santa. It is an evening of laughter, joy and giving back. Even this year, with the pandemic we found a safe way to continue the tradition. Sometimes you have to do a little creative thinking and stay diversified but when you are a jolly elf, doing Santa’s good work for those who need it, a way will present itself.

The greatest gift I ever received, I sadly lost at the end of January after 15 ½  years, my dog Odin J.  I am so grateful for all the years we spent together, teaching each other, increasing our bond and enjoying the never long enough journey. I write this article to continue his message to “Help all dogs (and pets) live their best lives”, in his honor. The love I received from the little rescued boy found freezing in the snow was something I hold in my heart forever and ever. Odin knew I could never replace him. He also knew I was lonely and sent me a gift from heaven above to help my heart heal. He sent this gift via Louisiana to Muskegon Humane, a furry white dog with Odin marking both his sides in the shape of a heart so I knew his message was clear.  This goofy silly boy, named “Odin J.’s Heavenly Sent Heart” ‘Olaf A Snowman’”, keeps a smile on my face and my heart lighter. I KNOW Odin J. will always be my guardian angel and is making sure I am being taken care of.



Another of my most treasured gifts, I was given right after Odin J. passed. A gold bone that hangs on a kennel at Muskegon Humane. This bone was given as a gift from my good friend and business partner, Paula. She generously donated this bone and paid to sponsor a kennel for one year in Odin’s name. The sponsorship pays for a dog to eat in the kennel for one year. I cannot think of a greater honor to a loved one than to sponsor this in their name. I plan to continue this sponsorship for as long as I am able. I go into the shelter to visit and take photos and try to find homes for all the dogs, but I feature the dogs in his kennel on social media in his honor, in hopes they can find their furever family even faster.

One by one we can all make a difference. What way would make your heart smile? What time, talent or gift can you afford to give? Shelters are struggling now more than ever.

“Saving that one dog (one cat or one horse) will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever."

Angel Odin, Olaf, Raven kitty and I make a Christmas wish that all the homeless pets and those in shelters will have their world changed for the better. We hope they find their perfect fur-ever home and never feel lonely again.


 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Showing support for the pack

 


“Throw me to the wolves, because there's order in the pack.” –Red Hot Chilli Peppers

I believe there is so much truth in that statement. I trust the animals more than any other being in this world right now. They are the voiceless, the fair and the innocent. I believe those that care for them are angels.

I have been going to Howling Timbers and have been a supporter approximately 18 years. I see them dedicate their lives to their mission:

"To provide life-long sanctuary to wolves, wolf dogs, and exotic animals that have been neglected, abused, abandoned or relinquished by their previous owner. To assist humane societies, animal shelters and the Michigan Department of Agriculture with the placement of wolf dogs and exotic animals. To educate the public on the proper care and humane treatment of all animal species."


They have done this and so much more! I can attest to how much love and commitment Brenda and Jim have for the animals.

 



Recently, as we know, media can be poisoning without having their ducks in a row.  I am writing this article to make sure that this place with a heart of gold gets the proper positive attention they deserve. If you don't know me personally, you could ask anyone what they thought of me. I would have to believe that the number one thing they would say about me is, “Jodi loves animals and that is her life.”  I believe with my whole heart in protecting and helping the voiceless.  Brenda and Jim are on the top of the list, when it comes to being one of my heroes in achieving this.  They are true angels to the animals. They have given hearts to these animals. They wake up caring for them; they go to bed caring for them. They educate the community and give homes to animals that would be destroyed without them. They give the animals the best lives that they could ask for and should be commended for their dedication and love.


Recently when  I spoke with Brenda and Jim, I asked them, “How did this place start? Did you buy the property with the intention of doing this?”  Jim replied, “No I bought it with the intention of sitting on this porch and watching the deer and the wilderness.” Somehow one wolf dog at a time this wonderful place was created.

 

I asked Jim and Brenda, “Which one of you started rescuing the wolf dogs?” They smiled and both pointed at each other.  Jim told me when he and Brenda were first together, she had on high heels and perfect makeup. Everything had to be perfect, she was scrubbing the baseboards with a toothbrush.  That’s when Brenda commented, wearing a hoddie with jeans, “Now I carry a bucket with a poop scraper.” Things sure have changed for this couple
Now they have become caretakers for those in need, no more high heels with everything spotless. I know they wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Just recently supporters and I were privileged to be able to show our support by participating in a drive by parade to show Jim and Brenda how much they were loved. I was brought to tears by the amount of support that showed up.  Baked goods, donations, gifts and so much love and camaraderie.  The community stepped up to show what a gift Brenda and Jim are to so many.





I invite you to visit Howling Timbers in Muskegon MI  and see for yourself how this place is a haven for creatures being cared for with love and dedication.  Please contact them for available times. Please see their website for details, visitation and a list of needed donations. These may be things you have in your home you were already going to discard of : slightly wilted produce, cans and bottles and for the hunters out there,  a way to honor the animal's life by donating scrap, the head, and any part you don't use. The wolves will be howling a thank you for being given food they are naturally meant to eat.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Future leaders with huge hearts for the animals

 

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.~ John Wooden

 

Cayden(left) Dawson (right) and Rocky kitty

I've always believed part of my purpose in life is to share humane education with children. When I reach my golden years, I want to look out onto this world and know there are others to love the animals and the earth. I want to be certain I have done my part to educate our future leaders. I believe now, more than ever, we need to encourage those future leaders to lift their heads up from their phones and computers and care about the world around them.  

I believe Caden (10 years old) and Dawson (8 years old) should be commended.

They are ambassadors for others, especially during these difficult times.

 

I am on the board of Muskegon Humane and it was brought to my attention what these two entrepreneurs with huge hearts achieved for the animals.

During the pandemic, I've often had to talk to myself and move forward to celebrate the things I can do and not cry about the things I cannot do. These boys sure did that!!

 

I spoke with Dawson and Caden’s mom and she told me about their project.

At only 10 years old Caden has his own Wood-shop

 that started as a hobby. He created children’s chairs, tables and more. He is working on earning money to purchase a dirt bike, admirable on all accounts.

 


As a family they sat down and talked about how they could give back and help in the community. Dawson has a huge heart for animals. The boy’s mom told me how she also thought this would be a good project to incorporate learning, when the boys were home from school in April due to the pandemic. They decided to do a fundraiser for a place that had BOTH cats and dogs. Having BOTH was very  important to them.  Together the boys had an assembly line, ON THEIR OWN. They created squirrel, bird and chicken feeders from recycled smooth clean pallets. Their mom marketed on face book and the boys make a stand with a sign for out at the end of the driveway. They sold them for $10 a piece and donated $200 to Muskegon Humane. This story continues with an added smile, while delivering the money to Muskegon Humane, they boys ended up adopting Rocky, a sweet kitty.

 These boys sure are creative thinkers that make things happen. I hope this article can inspire other children and adults alike to share their talents and time and put them to a positive use.

 



 I was informed of a family where everyone, even the children sorted cans at Muskegon Humane to help with a fundraiser. I also commend the children who gave up birthday gifts and collected supplies needed, instead to donate to the shelter.

I believe projects like this can help shine a bright light in our heart that we need instead of worry and negative media. I think these boys set an exemplary example of ways to take that extra time and make a difference in the lives of other creatures.  I would like to invite your children to see how creative they can be. Encourage creative thinking if they are being home schooled, or on a computer too much. Encourage them to share their time and talents.

Without the ability to hold bingo and other large crowd fundraisers Muskegon Humane and other shelters are struggling to find creative ways to earn money to continue to help the animals who need us so much.

 If more of our future leaders could do what these boys did, imagine what a difference it would make. ONE BY ONE WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

 

To purchase your own feeder you can email Caden and Dawson’s mom at Audramarie19@gmail.com. I can’t wait to get mine!

The boys would also love any donations of smooth clean pallets for their projects.

A do over for 2020 PLEASE

 


“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ― Josh Billings

The year 2020 did not start out very well.  My best furry friend, Odin J. transitioned to the rainbow bridge. Now we are in a crazy pandemic. I would like a do-over please!

Missing my Odin J. now at the rainbow bridge


I am so so thankful to Alexis, director at Muskegon Humane. At the end of February, she connected me with a sweet boy to foster.  Fostering, led to adopting. I could not even fathom another dog after losing my soul dog.  One day someone told me this and it stuck in my mind; you can love two siblings and love both and not feel guilty. It helped me to cope and look at things differently.  I hope it may help others that are struggling.

Olaf, my new adopted dog, is not a replacement. However, I have so much love to give this sweet rescue who is being treated for heart worm. He has given me so much love and consoling in return! He is definitely lived up to his proper name, Odin J.’s Heavenly Sent Heart “Olaf A. Snowman.” Kitty Raven instantly fell in love with him, after she bat him in the face, and he fell on his back all 4 feet up in the air. They became fast friends!

Olaf was transferred and saved, from a shelter in Louisiana. Muskegon Humane went to help St. Landry Parish, the poorest in Louisiana because they are in the Bissell Pet foundation network. They have an extraordinarily high intake and no funding for adoption preparation. The animals that enter that shelter only have a chance if they are transferred out.

Olaf’s shelter mate was also rescued and pregnant. After the puppies were born my friend and partner, Paula, took them in to foster and help them start them out right. Some people think they should wait until a puppy is through its whole set of vaccines before exposing your puppy to anything. We believe that is too long to wait to have a well-rounded, fear free happy life. When a puppy is young, they should be curious about anything new. If you present it in a positive way, it will just seem normal. We dressed up in big bulky clothing, sunglasses, hats and backpacks and picked up the puppies. We exposed them to things such as under the car dollies and rolling chairs. We showed them ceiling fans moving. These things can be very scary for a puppy if introduced too late in life.








During this pandemic meeting other people is quite difficult. Paula and I met outside at her house, social distanced and worked with the puppies. I brought my vaccinated dog so that they could get used to other dogs. Paula introduced her dog Pepper. It is so important to introduce puppies to adult dogs, children, and NEW people, so they do not become fearful. The puppy’s mother and you are not enough. Understandably, it is hard right now with social distancing, but you can find ways. You could put your puppy on a very long leash. You can meet a friend in their back yard that is fenced. Paula went above and beyond and showed the puppies cows, pigs, goats and horses. They had multiple surfaces to walk on and interactive toys to explore. If you go to our Facebook Dog Blessed LLC. there is a lot of videos and puppy how to’s. I really want to commend Paula for everything she has done for these puppies to start them out right. I am thankful I had the opportunity to help.

I encourage you if you adopt a puppy to make this your number one priority. Waiting until they're six months old it is too late.

Remember a dog will love your unconditionally. Give them what they need, they pay you back tenfold.   Also try to remember everyone is dealing with this pandemic in a different way. I believe we all must try to think like a dog and just be understanding. We all need to strive to be more like the animals that don't judge. (myself included) They live in the moment. I believe we all need to listen to the animals and nature.

 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Odin J. Helping Dogs Live Their Best Lives




"Let others believe you are dead if they desire; But I want no part of it for as far as I'm concerned, you are vitally alive and just as much the 'old pal' now as ever. It could not be otherwise, I know too much about the expanse of the real you." J Allen Boone


Even though his furry earthly body left on my birthday, January 30, and he is not here to snuggle, the real Odin J will live forever. I will dedicate my life to honoring him and his messages.

Over fifteen years ago my daughter, Paige, saw his face on Petfinder and that was it. My heart was stolen. We had to adopt him. A poor little boy left to freeze in the snow, taken to a foster home where the children were not nice, and he was not in great condition.

 I've told many people, when I work with them, and their dogs, we have to celebrate our dogs for who they are. I believe every being is brought into our lives for a reason. Odin's was to be my teacher. He reacted with children and fast movement. He forced me, to educate myself more. He taught me to look deeper to find ways, to help him and other dogs.

I am so glad dogs are forgiving. At first, I went the wrong direction. Did I once do an alpha roll? Yes, sadly, I admit it. Did it work?  NO! It made it worse. I spent 15 years expanding my knowledge. I took classes, seminars, and reading to help him. I believe this is how we became closer than any other being I've ever encountered. Odin taught me, that taking time, having patience, and learning what he needed to make scary situations better was what made it easier.

When we started doing this, he soared. I look back at our videos together now and he watched my every move, we achieved an incredible bond and shared a dance. I believe that can only be achieved with pure love and trust and having FUN together.



Odin went on to achieve greatness. He won many first prize ribbons at rally trials and earned his Advanced Canine Good Citizen, his AKC trick performing title, and at the age of fourteen, he became a Champion trick dog. I don't believe titles are the do all end all, but for a little rescue reactive dog, he overcame so many obstacles. We had so much fun together achieving these goals. I believe that his most important lesson he left was for me is to help other dogs live their best lives by telling his story and helping dogs and their humans understand each other better. I have hundreds of stories about this boy. All so priceless to me. You can read a lot of them on my blog furryphilosophy.blogspot.com or in my book, “Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone.”

So many happy memory videos. If you would like to see a few. This is my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxhpOt81yRY  You can also go to YouTube and type in Odin J. DMWYD or AKC trick performance title.
Odin was an angel to other dogs. He has helped shy dogs at classes I taught overcome their fears by just being sweet and kind. He was referred to as “Uncle Odin” and other’s said, “my puppy’s first best friend”.

 He is very missed by my grand-puppy and his sister kitty, Raven. He was always kind to rescue squirrels and ducks. He is missed by so many. The outpouring of love has been a tremendous help to me and such an honor to his name.



When it was the end of his life, my heart broke. I sobbed like no other. I felt it from the depths of my soul. When you bond with a creature that much it's the hardest goodbye you've ever felt. He will always be alive as far as I'm concerned in my heart, and in many ways to come. He will be honored, and his name will live on by helping other dogs live their best lives.










I love you Odin J. I am thankful for every lesson you taught me and for being my teacher. You are my heart and my soul, and always will be.

Alexis, the talented director at Muskegon Humane, designed a graphic that I am having made into a car sticker with Odin’s message. It's a fundraiser for Muskegon Humane. To order, please contact me via info below. Cost $5 each. Look for “Odin J’s Helping Dog’s Live Their Best Lives” group on face book. It would be an honor to him, when you can use his hashtags #helpingdogslivetheirbestlives #odinj
This will be the sticker in Odin's memory

As one of my favorite philosophers, a wise ol’ bear named Winnie the Pooh  states, “How Lucky I Am To Have Something That Makes Saying Goodbye So Hard.”









MY heart is touched by the outpouring of love  that has been sent to me in honor of Odin J.
I am so grateful. Thank you to each and every one of you. Every note, every way to honor him has been a priceless gift. Love you all <3
So thankful to have found a wonderful woman  Patricia from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClbxtK5POcV6AYx4fptTrLA  to spin Odin' fur into yarn She was so sweet and talented !  I am designing with  Kimmy from  Sun Stoners https://www.facebook.com/groups/408163633188283/ to make a bracelet  with the yarn. She does wonderful custom work and is also so sweet to work with. I am very fortunate.

So thankful to Clock Timeless Pets https://www.clocktimelesspets.com/ for their care with my boy and to
my friend Char for the angel to watch over him. 

Helen and Janet send love

Jill and Meem send love too

My amazing friends at Companion Animal Veterinary shared love and comfort food. I cannot thank them enough for the  love and care they provided 



I am so thankful to Paula for this honor to Odin J. and Christine for a donation in his name also.