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True American Dog

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NSAIDs for Pain Relief Can Cause Problems if Used Together or in Sensitive Animals

We are all interested in reducing pain and inflammation in our pets when it is necessary. Pharmaceutical companies have come up with a variety of medications that help do just that. The downside is that there are a few harmful side effects in a few sensitive animals. Anti-inflammatory drug types are in classes related to aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and cortisone. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include the aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen types.

Prednisone is not an NSAID but an anti-inflammatory drug used for allergic reactions, autoimmune problems, and painful chronic joint conditions. I use a cortisone injection and oral prednisone to help with painful itchy skin and ear conditions, severe bowel conditions, and painful joints. I always try to “pulse” the cortisone and prednisone when needed for a few days to a maximum of 2 weeks. It’s always best to use the smallest dose of cortisone every other day to control allergies, chronic diarrhea, or achy joints due to arthritis of old age. A client weaned her German shepherd down to just 5-10 mg every other day to control symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease or food allergy. She used the Prednisone after trying a multitude of foods and home cooking. Her dog weighed 70 pounds and a normal dose of cortisone would usually be at least 20-40 mg once to twice daily for that weight.

From that experience, I realized that the dosage of any pain medication needed (NSAID or steroid like prednisone) may be ultimately dependent on the problem and the individual’s response to the drug. If less medication helps with pain relief, the less chance of side effects!

This is especially important with NSAIDS like aspirin, Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Previcox, Etogesic, Metacam, and the generic forms of these drugs. The warning label for all NSAIDS are  similar and sounds like this.

The most common side effect of NSAIDs is stomach upset, but stomach ulcers may develop, in which case you may see loss of appetite; vomiting; diarrhea; dark, tarry, or bloody stools; or constipation. Side effects involving the kidney include increased thirst and urination, or changes in the urine color or smell. Liver-related side effects include jaundice (yellowing of the gums, skin, or eyes). Other side effects may include pale gums, lethargy, shedding, in-coordination, seizures, or behavioral changes. If any of these side effects are observed, stop treatment and contact your veterinarian.

Liver problems can be serious in sensitive dogs(especially labs)

These drugs are really good for a pet in pain, but remember that they can cause serious side effects in sensitive animals. I often use less than the recommended dose or split the dosage up into twice daily doses for a few days to see how the drug works on a particular patient.

NSAIDS seem to cause the most side effects in stressed animals, especially those recovering from surgery. Surgical patients are commonly given the maximum,  24 hour,   “surgical dose” injection of Rimadyl. I have been giving my surgical patients half that dosage.( the regular twice daily dosage of Rimadyl) I feel that it makes more sense to use a dose that will reduce pain and can be repeated in 12 hours.

NSAIDS work by stopping inflammation-causing prostaglandins present in all cells.  Not all prostaglandins cause inflammation. Some prostaglandins are necessary to prevent acid build up in the stomach and help with normal kidney function (The “happy” types of prostaglandins  are called Cox-1 types, while the “painful or inflammatory” prostaglandin types are called Cox-2). Some NSAIDS can alter the normal balance of the prostaglandins (decrease the happy type needed for a healthy stomach and kidneys) and cause ulcers, kidney problems, or bleeding. NSAIDS more active with stopping Cox-2 prostaglandins are better at pain relief without side effects. For example, aspirin (which stops both prostaglandins) may lower  the “happy”  prostaglandin in the stomach cells causing ulcers. (Remember, prostaglandins are in every cell and have jobs!). This account isn’t entirely biochemically correct but in general describes the scenario.

That being said, NSAIDS are still one of the most common drugs used in veterinary medicine. There are several things you can do to make sure that your pet is not one of the rare patients that will have problems.

Make sure your vet knows about any other medication you have used before starting a course of NSAIDS. Switching from one NSAID to another may need a break of several days to 2 weeks to prevent problems. If a patient has received aspirin or prednisone, NSAIDS and surgery could cause problems. One or two doses of aspirin may not cause concern, but if the patient is older, sensitive, or stressed, two different NSAIDS in a short period of time could cause side effects.

Giving a break between prednisone and other NSAIDS is called the “washout period” to give the stomach, kidneys, liver, and clotting system a breather between different drugs. The body may need a rest between prednisone,aspirin, and the start of NSAIDS. ( Your vet will be able to tell you how much time, if any, to wait between drugs) Your pets sensitivity and reaction to a new NSAID may be more about them as individuals, not the combination. The real facts are really not known. Some literature says 24 hours , 72 hours , and up to two weeks between different drugs!

Try to use the lowest dose that will give relief. In cases of chronic pain you may be able to use the medication daily or every other day instead of twice daily.

Stop giving the drugs if there is nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, or other signs or not feeling good!

Fish oils’ omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect involving the production of protective instead of inflammatory prostaglandins. Using fish oil may help decrease inflammation as well as help nourish the skin!

Remember: Dogs with arthritis need to be on the thin side and may benefit from glucosamine/chondroitin supplements , raw meaty bones, or slow cooked bones and cartilage. Weight loss and a better diet may decrease the need for NSAIDS!

If you want to know more about feeding a better diet, helping dogs with itchy skin, helping cats lose weight, ear problems, seizures, or chronic bowel issues, check out Dog Dish Diet and Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet at http://dogdishdiet.com/order-now . Dog Dish Diet talks about helping medical problems with better ingredients and Feed Your Pet teaches you how to easily and economically slow cook food for your dog and cat.(Feed Your Pet also has nutritional tips for your cat)

Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet

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Nice Pet Healthy Teeth photos

Check out these pet healthy teeth images:

What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring
pet healthy teeth

Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Jim Jenkins, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In this photo: Guam rail chick

Visitors strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Zoo one of these beautiful spring days will see a variety of baby animals, some new faces and enjoy an entirely new food experience. Below are just a few of the new critters and experiences visitors can expect. More than 30 animal demonstrations take place every day in which visitors can encounter fascinating creatures and chat with keepers about the Zoo’s conservation efforts. To view the demonstration schedule, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/DailyPrograms/.

1.Baby Bird Bonanza Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most endangered birds and their chicks up-close at the Bird House. A baby boom officially began March 7 when a brown kiwi hatched from his shell. The Zoo’s flock soon expanded to include a wattled crane, two Guam rails, three rheas and two sunbittern chicks. They’re growing fast, so bird watchers should plan to visit the Bird House in the next few weeks. Soon, the wattled crane chick will be six feet tall!

2.See Some Impressive Tortoises For the first time in its history, the Reptile Discovery Center will exhibit impressed tortoises. Not much is known about these reptiles, so Zoo biologists will study their growth and behavior. The two sub-adult males sport golden brown and black patterned shells, but this beauty has also made them vulnerable to extinction. Along with habitat loss, the pet trade contributes to the population decline of impressed tortoises in their native Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

3.Zoo-perior Food An entirely new dining experience awaits visitors at the National Zoo thanks to its new food partner, Sodexo. Cafés and concession stands will serve a wide variety of authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as healthier versions of traditional favorites. What’s more, ingredients are local, seasonal and sustainable. The menus for six food service stations are available on the Zoo’s website.

4.New Neighbors at the Cheetah Conservation Station Two young scimitar-horned oryx named Sweeney and Omar are the newest residents at the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. These large desert antelope sport horns that are several feet long and resemble a long, curved scimitar—a type of Arabian sword. The half-brothers were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last year. Native to northern Africa, scimitar-horned Oryx are considered extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

5.The Inside Story For an in-depth perspective on why animals behave the way they do, stop by the Small Mammal House this May and check out its new exhibit: “The Inside Story.” Learn how anteaters eat without any teeth, how a Prevost squirrel nimbly jumps from branch to branch, and more. Artifacts and x-rays of animals’ skulls, muscles, and tails will show visitors how adaptations help animals survive in a changing world.

Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the National Zoo. Parking lots fill up by mid-morning and then free up early afternoon during spring and summer. Last admittance to the Zoo is 7 p.m. To reserve a parking space 48 hours in advance, call Friends of the National Zoo Guest Services at 202-633-4486 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking reservation fees of for FONZ members and for nonmembers apply.

# # #

What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring
pet healthy teeth

Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Gil Myers, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In this photo: scimitar-horned oryx

Visitors strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Zoo one of these beautiful spring days will see a variety of baby animals, some new faces and enjoy an entirely new food experience. Below are just a few of the new critters and experiences visitors can expect. More than 30 animal demonstrations take place every day in which visitors can encounter fascinating creatures and chat with keepers about the Zoo’s conservation efforts. To view the demonstration schedule, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/DailyPrograms/.

1.Baby Bird Bonanza Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most endangered birds and their chicks up-close at the Bird House. A baby boom officially began March 7 when a brown kiwi hatched from his shell. The Zoo’s flock soon expanded to include a wattled crane, two Guam rails, three rheas and two sunbittern chicks. They’re growing fast, so bird watchers should plan to visit the Bird House in the next few weeks. Soon, the wattled crane chick will be six feet tall!

2.See Some Impressive Tortoises For the first time in its history, the Reptile Discovery Center will exhibit impressed tortoises. Not much is known about these reptiles, so Zoo biologists will study their growth and behavior. The two sub-adult males sport golden brown and black patterned shells, but this beauty has also made them vulnerable to extinction. Along with habitat loss, the pet trade contributes to the population decline of impressed tortoises in their native Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

3.Zoo-perior Food An entirely new dining experience awaits visitors at the National Zoo thanks to its new food partner, Sodexo. Cafés and concession stands will serve a wide variety of authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as healthier versions of traditional favorites. What’s more, ingredients are local, seasonal and sustainable. The menus for six food service stations are available on the Zoo’s website.

4.New Neighbors at the Cheetah Conservation Station Two young scimitar-horned oryx named Sweeney and Omar are the newest residents at the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. These large desert antelope sport horns that are several feet long and resemble a long, curved scimitar—a type of Arabian sword. The half-brothers were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last year. Native to northern Africa, scimitar-horned Oryx are considered extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

5.The Inside Story For an in-depth perspective on why animals behave the way they do, stop by the Small Mammal House this May and check out its new exhibit: “The Inside Story.” Learn how anteaters eat without any teeth, how a Prevost squirrel nimbly jumps from branch to branch, and more. Artifacts and x-rays of animals’ skulls, muscles, and tails will show visitors how adaptations help animals survive in a changing world.

Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the National Zoo. Parking lots fill up by mid-morning and then free up early afternoon during spring and summer. Last admittance to the Zoo is 7 p.m. To reserve a parking space 48 hours in advance, call Friends of the National Zoo Guest Services at 202-633-4486 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking reservation fees of for FONZ members and for nonmembers apply.

# # #

What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring
pet healthy teeth

Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Jim Jenkins, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In this photo: Guam rail chick

Visitors strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Zoo one of these beautiful spring days will see a variety of baby animals, some new faces and enjoy an entirely new food experience. Below are just a few of the new critters and experiences visitors can expect. More than 30 animal demonstrations take place every day in which visitors can encounter fascinating creatures and chat with keepers about the Zoo’s conservation efforts. To view the demonstration schedule, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/DailyPrograms/.

1.Baby Bird Bonanza Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most endangered birds and their chicks up-close at the Bird House. A baby boom officially began March 7 when a brown kiwi hatched from his shell. The Zoo’s flock soon expanded to include a wattled crane, two Guam rails, three rheas and two sunbittern chicks. They’re growing fast, so bird watchers should plan to visit the Bird House in the next few weeks. Soon, the wattled crane chick will be six feet tall!

2.See Some Impressive Tortoises For the first time in its history, the Reptile Discovery Center will exhibit impressed tortoises. Not much is known about these reptiles, so Zoo biologists will study their growth and behavior. The two sub-adult males sport golden brown and black patterned shells, but this beauty has also made them vulnerable to extinction. Along with habitat loss, the pet trade contributes to the population decline of impressed tortoises in their native Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

3.Zoo-perior Food An entirely new dining experience awaits visitors at the National Zoo thanks to its new food partner, Sodexo. Cafés and concession stands will serve a wide variety of authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as healthier versions of traditional favorites. What’s more, ingredients are local, seasonal and sustainable. The menus for six food service stations are available on the Zoo’s website.

4.New Neighbors at the Cheetah Conservation Station Two young scimitar-horned oryx named Sweeney and Omar are the newest residents at the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. These large desert antelope sport horns that are several feet long and resemble a long, curved scimitar—a type of Arabian sword. The half-brothers were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last year. Native to northern Africa, scimitar-horned Oryx are considered extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

5.The Inside Story For an in-depth perspective on why animals behave the way they do, stop by the Small Mammal House this May and check out its new exhibit: “The Inside Story.” Learn how anteaters eat without any teeth, how a Prevost squirrel nimbly jumps from branch to branch, and more. Artifacts and x-rays of animals’ skulls, muscles, and tails will show visitors how adaptations help animals survive in a changing world.

Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the National Zoo. Parking lots fill up by mid-morning and then free up early afternoon during spring and summer. Last admittance to the Zoo is 7 p.m. To reserve a parking space 48 hours in advance, call Friends of the National Zoo Guest Services at 202-633-4486 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking reservation fees of for FONZ members and for nonmembers apply.

# # #

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Gunja – and bone

Gunja is a cross between a Boxer and a Golden Retriever. She’s the sweetest, gentlest dog and lives in the village of Gorbio.  Here you see her chewing a bone at the recent Meschiou (sheep roast picnic) – yes, the dogs eat as well as the people: there was a large dish of lamb and lamb bones, just for the dogs! 

Gunja, is very polite -  here she greets friends at one of the tables. And with her owner and new baby, she says Hello to Gunilla and Alice. 

RIVIERA DOGS

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Dogs Help Seniors Stay Fit

Dogs are a favorite pet for senior citizens and there is plenty of research showing that dogs help seniors stay fit by urging them to exercise. The way the dog does this is by insisting that it be walked every day or be joined in a game of catch the ball or frisbee. Dogs also encourage seniors to participate in other activities with them.

Walking is by far the favorite way for seniors to exercise with their dog. According to a poll by AARP, sixty one percent of people aged 65 or older who own a dog, exercise by walking their dog. What may surprise a few people is another statistic from the same poll: fifty four percent of people between the ages of 50 and 64 who have a dog also exercise by walking with their pet.

Of this same group of 50-64 year olds, forty two percent also play catch or toss a Frisbee with their dog as a fitness routine, while twenty six percent of the seniors aged 65 or older who own a dog, exercise with their dog in the same way. Other favorite ways of exercising that both age groups regularly do is jogging and wrestling. Yes, wrestling with their dog. Respondents said that they love to wrestle at home with their dog and also when they go to a park for exercise.

The frequency that dog owners exercise with their dogs varies substantially between the age groups. Twenty two percent of people aged 50 to 64 regularly exercise with their dog, while thirty three percent of the seniors 65 and older exercise with their dogs more than once a day.

The difference between the regularity of exercising with their dog may possibly be attributed to work responsibilities or more active social lives. Of those who don’t exercise every day with their dog, about seventeen percent exercise with their best canine friend two to three times per week. As for the slackers, fifteen percent say they never exercise with their dog.

Research seems to indicate that people who exercise with their pets are more likely to stay on a regular fitness program. Walking, jogging, or playing catch with their dog provides the same exercise benefits for both the person and the dog, helping keep muscles and joints flexible and aiding in controlling weight gain for both.

Companionship is the primary reason that people aged 65 and older decided to get a pet. Companionship was also the major reason people aged 50-64 chose to adopt a pet.

Taking care of a dog is not something everyone can do or is willing to do every day of their lives. Dogs come with a lot of responsibility for the owner. A dog must be fed regularly and always have access to fresh water. Dogs need a fenced in yard to play in or they must be taken for a walk at least twice a day to take care of their biological needs.

The cost of buying pet food, regular checkups by a veterinarian, and necessary vaccinations can place a heavy burden on seniors dependent upon Social Security for their retirement income. Sixty percent of people 65 and older and thirty seven percent of those between the ages of 50 and 64, say they don’t own a pet for these very reasons.

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Kids Never Get this Excited: SEASON’S GREENIES® Commercial – 30 seconds

The holidays take an unusual turn when toothbrushes become the year’s most anticipated gift. See how much your dog can love dental care with GREENIES® Dental…
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Learn how to make a Orange Pistachio Greenies Recipe! Go to http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2012/07/orange-pistachio-greenies-they-only.html for the ingredien…

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How to Stop Leash Aggression

brown dog on leash

Brown dog is ready to go

It may be the oldest story in dog training: a dog that is an otherwise perfectly-behaved, downright sweet, and beloved member of the family, will growl, bark, lunge, and may even bite another dogs he encounters on leash. Take the leash off and he is a model citizen at the dog park or day care.

What’s up with that?

Well first of all, leash aggression is a very common problem. If you have ever described it to a dog trainer you may have noticed her complete lack of surprise. Many trainers have classes dedicated to this problem. It’s common enough in my area that I already have an ongoing series of blog posts about it over here. (And my dedicated classes are coming soon.)

So relax, you’re not alone.

You can poke around my blog series after you finish this, but here’s a quick rundown on what causes it and how to diminish or maybe even eliminate the problem.

Where does leash aggression come from?

Leash aggression is often caused by fear, frustration, or both. The fear can come from a lack of socialization as a puppy, from a bad past experience, or from feeling restrained with a leash attached. Frustration can come from not being able to get to a dog because of being on leash, which generalizes to “seeing dogs while on leash is always frustrating.”

Of course these factors can combine to feed each other, and other issues may be involved. The good news is finding out the exact causes is not critical to addressing the problem.

What can we do to address leash aggression?

I already gave you the first step: relax. Your tensing up when you see another dog or worse, yelling and yanking the leash when your dog is acting out, doesn’t help. I know it’s not easy, but work on it. It’ll help a lot.

Check your hardware. Despite relatively recent efforts to "rebrand" them, slip (or choker) collars and prong collars are really intended for corrections. The slip collar is for manually delivering a leash correction by "popping" the leash. The prong can also be used for leash corrections and will administer a "pinch" when the dog pulls ahead on leash. (I don’t use either device or corrections, but that’s not the point right now.) What do you suppose happens to a dog that is lunging at the end of a leash when wearing one of these collars? If nothing else it will increase his stress level, worst case he will associate the corrections with what he is looking at: another dog.

I prefer harnesses for dogs with leash aggression. Taking the pressure off of the neck can relieve a great deal of stress, even when compared to a simple flat collar. With a large or strong dog a "front clasp" harness like an Easy Walk or SENSE-ible can also help the person holding the leash maintain control.

Work on attention. A few of the blog posts in my series talk about using attention to keep your dog focused on you and not on the other dogs. If you can get attention on cue with his name or a cue like "look!" it can also serve as way to redirect focus back to you if it slips.

You need to pay attention. Put the phone away. Finish your coffee before you walk. Try to map out your route in advance. If you live in a densely populate area like many of my clients it’s probably impossible to avoid other dogs, but you can at least be prepared!

Work on counter-conditioning and desensitization. This is worth seeing a trainer for, and honestly a session with a trainer is a good idea for this problem anyway. Fear and frustration are emotional responses, and working on changing the association is going to be a key part in any solution.

That’s the short version. There’s a lot more over here. and a few more posts on counter-conditioning and desensitization on the way. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates. The box is up on the right.

How to Stop Leash Aggression is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey

      


Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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Does anyone see anything funny about this picture?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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how to: get rid of dog breath

1/4 banana 1/4 apple 1 small strawberry and 1/4 strip of string cheese all chopped gave this to my dog as a healthy ‘desert’ and he LOVED it. his breath smel…

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Friday is for Favorites // My 10 Favorite Things This Week

Hey fellow music nerds, can we all just agree that this shirt is basically amazing? 

I’d take any yard I could get (oh the downfalls of living in a townhouse), but if I got to pick my dream yard, it would look something like this.  I had a place years ago with a backyard made up of endless acres of forest and wildflowers, and I vowed to have something similar again one day.  A bad ass treehouse would be an added bonus.

It's Just Water To Go Cup

I love this, but mainly because my it reminds me of my little sister.  I’ll just say that we’ve had all sorts of fun with incidents involving summer cocktails and ‘to go’ cups.  Morgan, if you’re reading this, you’re getting a present.

While completely out of my price range for a top, this blouse is just so pretty and summery that I’ve been going back to the Anthropologie website on the daily just to look at it.  It reminds me of pictures of my mom from the 70s, all barefoot and flower child-like, traipsing though fields and stuff.  I want it.

No explanation necessary for this one.  It’s a baby giraffe.  It’s really cute.  Enough said.  (source)

This article, entitled “Do Yourself a Favor and Forget What Your ‘Size’ Is,” is spot on.  As someone who has worked in the fashion industry and has designed for a clothing line for many years, I can also tell you this – there is no standard size chart that the industry must follow.  Brands can make up whatever sizes they like to define garments.  So in the end, the numbers and letters on those jeans you’ve been coveting are likely all lies anyway.  My advice (to myself as much as anyone else) is to try things on and pick what looks the best on you.  Period. 

Imagine how much more collectively calm we’d be if we each took a couple of minutes to do this everyday… (source)

Even better than the deliciousness that the photo of these grilled peaches exudes is the description on how to make them: “There’s not much fuss about it.  It’s peaches.  On a grill.”  This will be happening at my house this weekend. 

Because everyone needs a ‘Random Crap’ bag.  (Or as this one is more demurely titled, a Random Kindness Bag.)  The best part about this cheery oversized tote?  It doesn’t put on any airs.  It just tells it like it is.  Nothing to hide. And the company that makes it, Wild & Wolf, supports the organization WaterAid, which helps to provide clean drinking water to people around the world.  Win-win

I’ve been listening to this album all week.  Which is nothing new.  It just happens to be one of those favorites on regular rotation.  ‘Old man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like yoooouuu..”

Two weeks of Friday is for Favorites posts in a row?  It’s a miracle!  For new readers, ‘Friday is for Favorites’ is my (once upon a time weekly; then monthly; now more accurately occasionally) series where I become a rebel, and break all of my own rules of design cohesiveness to which I normally adhere on the Bubby and Bean blog.  No themes, curated collections, or matching aesthetics here.  Just a gathering of a few random things that I happen to be loving most this particular week, now shared with you. 

I’m so glad that today is Friday, and even more grateful than usual that the weekend is here.  This has been a heavy week you guys.  Late Sunday night, my grandmother (and idol) ‘Maggo’ had a massive stroke.  I haven’t said anything here, but I did mention it via a photo on Instagram, and the thoughts/prayers/good vibes that came in as a result are appreciated beyond words.  She has been slowly improving – even moved out of ICU into a regular room.  We’re staying hopeful and spending lots of time with her as she recovers. 

Yesterday also marked three years since my ‘brother,’ long-time ex (I hate that word), and closest friend Jeff took his own life after years of struggling.  I’ve mentioned this only a handful of times here on the blog, but it was without a doubt the most horrific time in my life.  I am a firm believer in creating positivity out of even the worst situations though, and losing Jeff in such a tragic way motivated me to make some major life changes (including breaking years of a workaholic lifestyle), and ultimately to start this blog and my art shop as side businesses.  Jeff was loved by so many people, but he just wasn’t able to see this for himself toward the end.  If you or anyone you  know ever feels this kind of emptiness or desperation, please reach out.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a wonderful organization with whom I’ve worked several times now by donating items to their local walks, in Jeff’s honor.  They are here to help.

As I said, I strongly believe that we have the power to make positive situations out of difficult ones, and to create happiness out of sadness.  So let’s leave this post on a happy note.  It’s the weekend!  It’s summer!  My husband will actually be off the road on a Saturday for the first time in forever!  My sister is coming to visit!  I hope your weekend – and the rest of your Friday – is full of all of your favorite things.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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