8 ways my rescue dog rescued me

Driving home from Moab late at night in the spring of 2014, I was doing what we all do on long road trips: thinking. Something was missing in my life. I had just spent a week backpacking around the desert and had an unbelievable trip, but all I could think the entire time was how it would have been better with a companion. The next morning I took a trip to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman, MT to “just look”. I don’t know much, but as soon as we caught each other’s eye I knew I had just met my soul hound. Waker has inflicted monumental impact on my every day life and this canine has made me a better human. I like to say I rescued my dog, but really, he rescued me. Or maybe, we rescued each other. The list of the ways he’s shaped my life is limitless, but here are eight lessons that only Wake dog could have taught me.

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  1. “We” is so much better than “I”.
    Waker is an every day constant now and no matter what it is, it’s about us, not just me anymore. Every decision I make is fueled by what’s best for him and he’s taught me that when you have a teammate in life, you must be considerate, selfless and mindful.

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  1. Dog really is the best co-pilot.
    Waker drastically changed my road trip game. We stop for lots of pee breaks and critter hunting in places I never would have explored alone. We have crossed state lines and time zones together, have witnessed the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I have seen so much more beauty because of him and for that I am fur-ever grateful.

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  1. It’s okay to put your head in a hole sometimes.
    Waker knows the best things in life aren’t always right in front of us nor are they easy to get. Sometimes we need to dig deep to find what we’re really looking for, just like catching critters.

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  1. You can get by with a little help from your best friend.
    Waker has seen my heart break, has watched me endure loss and has been there for significant life changes. I was on crutches for the better part of our first year together, but he didn’t let me sit around and think about it too much. He made me get up and get out to actually enjoy those days and suddenly, it wasn’t so bad.

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  1. It’s cool to be goofy.
    Waker is my little weirdo. He doesn’t do what other dogs do – he doesn’t play fetch, he doesn’t woof down his food at once and he only wants to cuddle on his terms. He walks to the wag of his own tail. He builds nests for himself all day long, he plays with his toys like they’re his actual friends and he catches more house mice than any cat on the block. He’s made me realize that the best thing to be is yourself, and its even better when you’re a little goofy.

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  1. Sharing your bed is a good thing to do.
    Waker likes to sleep like I do – in the middle of the bed with all the covers. We needed a few nights, but we finally agreed upon sleeping positions that accommodate both of us. That means he still gets the middle and I try not to fall off, but hey, it works for us and we’ve never slept better. He’s taught me that the greatest things, like sleep, are shared, and sharing is crucial for feeling fulfilled.

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  1. Take a look at the things around you.
    Waker wonders about everything he sees, listens to every sound he hears and takes his time to pee on everything he sniffs. Pausing to take a look at the things around me has enhanced my quality of life. Life is full of simple treasures and beauty is everywhere. Waker gets full credit for teaching me how important understanding this is.

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  1. Fall more in love every day.
    Waker makes me laugh, encourages me to remain patient and takes me on an unpredictable adventure every day. My heart is full of happiness because of him and each day I fall more and more in love with that boy.
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Animals are the Best Teachers

I’m a strong believer that every animal has at least one lesson to teach us on our journey. Here are the lessons I’ve learned so far.

Dogs: Dogs love you on your worst days. Dogs love you on your best days. Dogs love you when you yell, cry, laugh, or a combination of all three. Dogs appreciate every little thing you do for them and are the most loyal creatures we can ask for. Dogs absolutely love unconditionally. If I could change anything about dogs, I would lengthen their too-short life span without a second thought. Dogs unfortunately showed me true heartbreak. They become our best friends and a true part of our families, but they all have to leave us too soon. Dogs taught me that grief is the price we pay for love.

Cats: Cats are complex animals with complex lessons. First, I need to clarify one thing: there’s a huge difference between regular indoor cats and BARN cats. I’ve only had barn cats in my life, so I can’t write about the fluffy, declawed, clean, indoor cats. Barn cats are tough. Tough to keep alive, tough to find, tough to micro-manage. When I was little, I was continually devastated that I couldn’t smother them with love. I had a lot of barn cats. The two toughest were (by far) Luigi and Stereo. There were both black and big and ruthless. They tolerated me. As Stereo grew old, he got away from killing gophers and rabbits. He settled with killing only a few mice a day. After a while, Mom started letting him in the house. He became fond of the fireplace and became an indoor/outdoor cat (my dad will deny this.) Cats taught me that it’s okay to be tough and it’s okay to change your life and it’s definitely okay to be alone.

Chickens: If you read my first blog, you know I believe chickens are the spawn of Satan. They taught me how to run, climb fence at record speed, watch my own back, and how to forever fear something that’s 95% smaller than me. Chickens, (roosters in particular) are mean and I’m pretty sure they take pride in this. They’re pompous, rude, and did I mention mean? However, if you grew up on a ranch you know there’s really no escaping chickens. All of the other animals on the ranch started to seem pretty freakin’ nice compared to the chickens. Chickens taught me (although I was reluctant to learn anything from them) you have to live with the bad to appreciate the good.

Fish: Everything dies, or does it? I’ve had a goldfish for 10 years. 10. I won him at the carnival, but he was kind of a burden on the rides so I put him down in the shade. When I came back a few hours later, he was no longer in the shade. The bag was scalding hot and he didn’t look so good. I took him home and put him in my aquarium. He was apparently fine because it only took him a few days to eat all of my other fish. After about a year, my mom told me I had to get him out of the house because he was weirdly big and creeped her out. After a while of struggling with ethics and personal moral values, I decided to dump him in the horse trough on a really cold day. I remember this because I was pretty sure he was going to get belly-up within a few hours. He didn’t. Unfortunately, he’s still alive and well and won’t die. Ever. He swims kinda crooked and turned pure white, but he seems as happy as if he had good sense. His name is Carni.

Horses: My friend Codi Uecker once summed up the most important lesson horses were able to teach me over the course of 22 years. She wrote, “I think about all of our successes and all of our failures. It never mattered which occurred, just that we did it together. The number of failures we earned only made our time of triumph that much greater.” This is how it always has been and always will be. Always.

7 Reasons Why Getting a Dog is not a Good Idea During College

 

20160619_110114College is hard as is. But to add a dog, into the mix… what could I have possibly been thinking?! Take it from me; being a college student and caring for my dog, Lilo, is too much! Here are 7 reasons proving why college and dogs just do not mix.

No more sleeping in.

Every single morning, I swear, Lilo wakes me up before 8 o’ clock, which is just soooo early. Even worse, she wakes me up by nudging herself in between my pillow and my head and proceeds to lick my face. Man, puppy kisses are so annoying.

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Dogs require a ton of money to care for.

A dog is a HUGE money guzzler. I have to spend a whopping $45 a month on her for food, toys, and other necessities. I have to cancel my monthly nail appointment just to afford that!

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Companionship

Who would want someone that is there for you no matter what, who listens to every problem you have at any time of the day, who loves you through everything, no if’s, and’s, or but’s? That’s right, No one. Best friends are overrated!

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They take up so much of your time.

Dogs are really demanding. They require so much up-keep: a few walks around the block, trips to the dog park… It’s just too much. I don’t have time to balance school and my social life AND a dog. Just to make things worse, I can’t bring my dog with me anywhere ! Nowadays, no establishments are dog-friendly and all my friends just hate when I bring an adorable dog with me when we hang out. UGH.

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Dogs don’t make you that happy.

Dogs are just kind of there. You don’t get emotionally attached to them at all. They don’t become the center of your world nor do they make you question how you survived before they entered your life. And there are zero scientific findings on the life-long positive effects of owning a dog… absolutely none.

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You become more responsible.

It drives me CRAZY that I actually had to learn how to be responsible when adopted Lilo. Why couldn’t I have just learned responsibility once I was out of college… in the real world… with no money and no plans?! That would have been way better than learning a valuable life lesson in college. I would much prefer falling flat on my face due to my irresponsibility in a few years!

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Dogs just aren’t cute.

ESPECIALLY puppies. Their fur isn’t even that fluffy and soft and those puppy dog eyes never tug at my heart strings. None of it’s cute! Not even when you try and get your dog to howl but they just can’t so it sounds like this…

 

 

By Kailey Norman

10 Reason Every Man In His Early Twenties Should Own A Dog

I got my dog, Brook Trout, four months ago and my life has not been the same since. Over the past four months I’ve learned what it means to be solely responsible for another life. In your early twenties you have a lot going on between class, work, relationships, and trying to figure out what to do with your life. It might not seem like the best time to get a dog, but if you’re ready to take on the challenge it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. I’ve put together a list of 10 reasons every man in his early twenties should get a dog, as long as  he is up for the challenge.

10 Reasons Every Man In His Early Twenties Should Own A Dog…
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  1. It will help you learn how to balance your responsibilities. When you’re in your early twenties you want to just lean your head out the window and enjoy the scenery, but you have to buckle down and get ready for the rest of your life. btclarkfork
  2. It will help keep you active. No matter how busy you are you have to find time to get out and exercise with your dog, whether it is a short walk around the neighborhood or a long afternoon hike, your dog will get you outside. btriver
  3. You will always have a companion that will love you unconditionally no matter what. After you graduate you will have friends come and go, but your dog will always be there when you need a best friend. brookcoorslight
  4. You always have a drinking buddy. Whether it’s a beer when you get home from work or a beer on the river, your dog will always be there to keep you company while you enjoy a silver bullet. btyeti5. There will always be an extra set of eyes on your cooler; more importantly the contents of your cooler. btfishing6. You’ll always have a fishing buddy. When you’re itching to go fishing, but none of your friends are your dog will be more than ready to hit the river with you!
    btzootown7. It will give you a different view of the world. As long as your dog has enough food, enough water, a place to sleep at night, and someone to love they are happy and healthy. This is perhaps the most important lesson you can learn from having a dog. btfood8. You’ll always have a reason to laugh. No matter how stressed out you are your dog will always be there doing goofy things to put a smile on your face. btbitterroot9. Your dog will always be looking out for you. Whether it is a stranger approaching you or a bear approaching you, your dog will always alert you when things aren’t quite right. img_309810. GIRLS. I have yet to meet a girl that can resist a cute puppy. I am always approached by girls when I take Brook out for a walk in busy places, specifically around campus. My single guy friends are always asking me if they can take Brook for a walk, they play it off like they’re trying to help me out, but we all know they’re just using Brook to pick up girls.

If you would like to see more pictures of Brook Trout you can check her out on my Instagram @Jared_Denni! Thank you! – Jared Denniston

 

Pick your Puppy – How to Decide What Kind of Dog is Best for You!

Dogs are truly man’s best friend, so it’s not surprising that many people find themselves wanting to add a puppy into their life. However, while having a dog can be great, one has to realize that the perfect dog for you, is the perfect dog for YOU. It’s okay to be a little selfish, this is a big decision and you want to make sure that you will be happy too. So before you run out to your nearest shelter or breeder, here are a few things you might want to consider about your prospective canine pal before adding another member to your family:

Attitude

A dog is one of the longest commitments you can make, so it’s important to consider the kind of pet you will want to have in your home for 10 to 15 years. Every dog’s attitude is unique, but different breeds are known for certain desirable temperaments. If you are picking out a dog, first of all, think about what you want. How do you want to spend time with your dog? Cuddling? Running? Do you want your dog to be silly and enthusiastic or shy and reserved? You want to make sure that you will be happy and that the dog is well suited for your lifestyle.

Size

Everyone knows puppies are cute and tiny, but even the smallest puppy can grow into a giant dog. Think about your home and how much space will you have. Do you live in a studio apartment? Then maybe a Newfoundland isn’t the best bet! Consider the space you have in your home to make sure that your happy little puppy can grow into a happy big dog (or a happy little dog, if that’s what you decide).

Age

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If you are thinking about adopting your dog from an animal shelter, you’ll definitely want to at least consider adopting an older dog. While raising a puppy can be very rewarding and fun, it is also a huge commitment. Think about the time you can put into raising this dog; do you want to deal with potty-training? If the answer is no, then a grown-up pup might be your best option.

Activity Level

No matter what kind of dog you are going to get, they will need daily exercise. Again, think about yourself, do you want a dog that wants more than one, long walk a day? Or do you want a dog that loves to play fetch? Or do you want a dog that is able to tire itself out in your backyard? Your dog’s happiness will partially depend on their activity level, so you’ll want to make sure that you are able to fulfill those needs.

Gender

While there aren’t too many differences between male and female dogs, especially when they are neutered or spayed, this is still something you should think about. Even if picking the gender is only your first step to the perfect name, this dog is your baby and you want to make sure that you are happy with your dog choice and you can provide your pup with the best possible life.

Health

All dogs will end up incurring some veterinarian bills, regardless of the breed. However, it is important to know that some dog breeds are more susceptible to diseases and problems later in life than others. Look through this list, put together by MainStreet.com, to see if any of your desired breeds could end up costing you a fortune at the vet.

Overwhelmed? No need to worry! While it is great to consider all of these traits, most dog owners will tell you that they “just knew” when they found their perfect dog. Now that you have been thinking about these different traits, you might be curious about what dog breeds fit your specific needs! Take this free online quiz to find out what kind of puppy you should pick!

Samuel Brown is a senior studying Marketing at the University of Montana. He plans to graduate in May 2016.