To my Master’s Graduate 

You graduate tonight.

Oh, what an accomplishment that is.

You spent four years going for  your Bachelors in Education. You studied hard, stressed a lot, but succeeded of course. You tried finding joy in teaching. You tried finding happiness in that career for about a year, but you were unsatisfied. You knew you were made for greater things. Everyone around you knew you were made for greater things. God knew you were made for greater things.

After some thinking and a lot of praying, you decided to head back to school for yet another two years. You wanted your Masters in School Counseling. You wanted to help people.

God clearly showed you your path, and you took it, without hesitation.

I am so proud of you. Not only that, I look up to you. I may be a minute older, but you are so  much wiser. Not only that, you are beautiful from the inside out, which is something I always knew. Anyone who knew you or even just met you, could see that beauty shining through.

That beautiful soul is one reason you were made to help people. You listen to people, without judgment. You care about people, even when they try to make it impossible. You love all people, even if they aren’t like you.

Thinking about watching you walk across that stage tonight to get your second diploma, brings tears to my eyes. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of recognition. I couldn’t be more proud of my twin sister, my best friend, my soul mate. I love you more than I can even describe.

And it is just the beginning for you, because I know you are destined for great things. More importantly, God made you destined for great things.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

You have such a bright future, my beautiful sister. God gave you that hope, so that one day, you could give hope to others.

So as you walk across that stage tonight, hold your head high and smile the biggest smile you have ever smiled, because you have accomplished something great. When you hear all that applause, know that you deserve it. Everyone sitting around you tonight watching, can see that beauty shining so bright, just like the ones who love you the most have always seen.

Congratulations twin sister – I love you so much!

The Slobbery War of 2017

I’ve went to war the past couple of days. I’ve strapped on my uniform of thick black and white fur, my boots of white hair, and my weapons of razor sharp teeth and a bark that can deafen the enemy from two miles away. No, my bark is not worse than my bite – they are in fact equal, so I would not cross me. I’ve went to war to protect my rights of walking and I’ve went to war to defend my mother’s honor and to ensure her safety. I know, I am so heroic, but you can save the applause till the end of my ‘tail.’

The war was bad. The war was ugly. The war was slobbery and even bloody. I am drained physically, mentally, and emotionally, but that is nothing that a piece of cheese, a gulp of water, and a nice back rub won’t fix. I went to war because I had to.

Who was this war against, you ask. Well this war was against the pets that live on  Devan Avenue – The stray cats that sneak in to other peoples’ yards, without them knowing, and the dogs that run wild, never being tied back with a leash or blocked in with a fence. This is one war that your kids will read about in History class, about a decade from now, and they will learn that I was truly heroic.

So, let’s take it back to two days ago, when this war began. Marlee and me were taking our nightly walk – same route, same scenery. I had always noticed this stray cat. It was always crouched down, eyeing us up in the wrong way. It had a smell of garbage, a glare of hostility, and a tail of terror. This cat’s tail looked as if it had been struck by lightening. Maybe it was that way because this cat had been to war before. I figured that had to be it, and that this feline should not be and could not be trusted.

I had let the cat do its thing for about two weeks, but this day, I had had enough. He was not going to look at me or my mom in anger any longer. This world needed less hatred, and I was going to do anything I needed to, to make this world a safer and more loving place. I know what you’re thinking – that is honorable.

The cat was in someone’s yard – a yard that it did not belong to. So when my mom got distracted with a lady walking past her saying “hello,” I took the plunge. I went full force after the cat. The fangs were out, the slobber was flying, and the claws were raging. I got a few swats and maybe even a few nips in, but the cat was an equal competitor. He took his paw of knives, and drug it across my face. I was left with scratches, cuts, and blood. The cat was still alive, but trust me, this story would have ended differently, if my mom didn’t rip me away from the enemy.

You might think I lost that battle, but I can ensure you, that I didn’t . The next day, I walked right past that cat with my head held high in the air, and the cat, well he cowered down in fear and went the opposite direction. He would not bother me or my mom anymore, and he would think twice before judging others with his glare of hostility. I taught that cat a lesson. Yes, I got a few bumps and bruises out of it, but what true war hero doesn’t.

So that takes us to the next day, when two enemies of the canine variety attacked. Marlee and me were walking on the road, trying to avoid confrontation. I guess you could say, I was trying to wave the white flag of surrender. However, these dogs wouldn’t allow it.

Without being tied down or fenced in, and without being watched by the owner, the first dog ran on to the road at us. At first it started harmlessly sniffing me, but it soon turned to rage. It lunged at me with his teeth snarling. He swatted at me with his paw. I had no choice but to defend myself. We both ended up on our hind legs, in a fist fight. He pushed me over on to my back, but I jumped right back up. I would have gotten a flip in myself, if the owner of the other dog didn’t finally control his canine and drag him away from Marlee and me, apologizing to us in the process.

It wasn’t even five steps later, that another dog, a German Shepherd, came running at Marlee full force, with his fangs out and growling uncontrollably. Marlee was terrified. She thought she was about to be attacked. She stood completely still on the road, paralyzed by fear. She pulled me close and told me to sit down. I obeyed, but I knew if that dog came any closer to Marlee, that I would have to defend her. It was my job to keep her safe. All I could do in that moment was growl back and show the dog my teeth. I wanted him to know that I would do anything to protect myself and my mom.

Marlee started screaming. She yelled, “Please someone get this dog. It’s going to attack me!” The dog’s owner finally came out of the house and grabbed the dog, once again apologizing. However, it was too late. Marlee was not physically harmed, but she was scared, and that was not okay with me.

We walked back to the house, and she started crying. Not only was she shaken up because of what had almost happened, but she felt like everything that had happened the past two days were her fault.

I licked her face, to ensure her, it was not her. She was the best owner a dog could want.

We took away three lessons from these events. 1) Always make sure your dog is leashed, fenced in, or controlled. If they are not, they could run out and attack an innocent dog or human just trying to harmlessly take a walk. Leash laws in Pennsylvania are there for a reason. 2) If a dog runs out at you, try and stay calm. I know it is difficult, but it will help to calm the situation down. 3) We obviously need to find another walking route. It’s unfortunate, but has to be done. I don’t want myself or my mom getting hurt by another animal, and when I feel threatened and want to protect Marlee, I am too big and too strong for her to pull back easily.

So yea, it has been an eventful two days.

I went to war. I got bloody. I got hurt, but I also protected my mom. After all, that is my job, and I would go to war with any animal to ensure her safety.

Now, you may cue the applause.

 

 

He Didn’t Need His Eyes to Love Me. 

My owner could not see me, but he could feel me. 

He could feel me pull him forward when the pedestrian walk light turned on to cross the street. He could feel me pull him left, to head over to his favorite coffee shop for his morning bagel and latte. He could feel me pull him right, when it was time to go back home. 

I was my master’s eyes. He relied on me to keep him safe. To direct his way. To make sure he got from place to place on time and unharmed. It was a tough job, but I was glad to do it.

However, I wasn’t only there for guidance, I was there to comfort. I was there to show him love and dedication also. 

So once again I say : my owner could not see me, but he could feel me. 

He could feel my soft fur run under his palms and fingertips as he stroked me from the bed, as he prepared to end his day. He could feel my tender licks, as I kissed his cheek or hand to let him know I was around if he needed me. He could feel my wagging tail to ensure him that I was content being with him and happy to help him. 

After all, I wasn’t just there for guidance, although that was my main job. I was there to be his companion – to be his friend. I was there for him to rely on. I was there to show him love. 

To me, there was nothing different about my master. No, he could not see me with his eyes, but he could touch me with his hands. He could kiss me with his lips. He could sooth me with his voice. He could see me with his soul. He didn’t need his eyes to love me. 

I wasn’t just there to guide him. I was there to show him unconditional love, and in return, I got unconditional love back. 

Today is National Guide Dog Day. Isn’t it amazing that a canine is someone that can guide a blind person through every turn of their life. They are truly spectacular creatures. 

Happy National Guide Dog Day! Your jobs are tough, but you are appreciated and loved. 

The Love he was Sent to the World to Give

He was caged up from sun up to sun down, never graced with human touch, compassion, or love. Every day, he waited for food that would never come and a friendly smile that he would never see. He was starved, beaten, and ignored, but yet every time his owner approached, even with the cruelest of intentions, he would still wag his tail. He had hope that maybe his owner had changed, that maybe he would pet his fur, hold him tight, and tell him that he was a good boy, while rewarding him with a healthy bowl of kibble. That never happened. His world was dark. 

But why? What had he ever done to deserve such abuse? He had a heart full of unconditional love – A soul full of loyalty.  And yet, he was rejected. That chipper outlook on life slowly started fading away. His happiness was caged up and his joy began to wither from being starved. Would he ever receive the love he was sent to this world to give?

Then one day, the sun started peaking through the clouds. 

He woke up surrounded by unfamiliar, but yet welcoming, faces. They were calling to him from just outside the fence. 

He looked around. If he approached these people, would he be disciplined by his owner? Was this all a set up? 

He was scared, but yet his curiousity drew him to their outstretched arms. There was no sign of his master, so he began a slow march to the strangers. Maybe they had food or water for him. 

He hesitantly approached them. When he finally reached their hands, he was trembling in fear. 

The one man lifted his hand. 

The dog dropped to the ground, and covered his eyes. He was anticipating a smack across the head. Why had he decided to trust these strangers? 

But after a few seconds past, the dog did not feel any pain. Instead, the stranger, gently placed his warm and tender palms on his fur and began stroking him. “Good boy,” the stranger kept repeating. Then he took a biscuit out of his pocket, and waited for the dog to take it. 

After minutes of this affection, the strangers lifted the dog out from the cage. This was the first time in his entire life, that he had been outside of those four fences. 

They put him in a van and drove him to a place. A place full of other dogs like him. 

But instead of being starved, beaten and ignored, they were all given a big bowl of food and water, they were all touched by the soft and kind hands of the workers, and they were all smothered with attention. 

It didn’t take the dog long to feel safe with these people. He trusted them. He had never felt this kind of compassion. 

Years past, and you could no longer see this dog’s ribs. He no longer trembled with fear when a human would reach out his/her hands to touch him. He finally had a family that gave him the love that he was sent to earth to give. His world was no longer dark. 

He ran around a big house from sun up to sun down, chasing after a ball that his human brother kept throwing across the floor. Every day he was fed and every morning he was greeted with a “Good morning” and big kisses from his human family. He was loved, played with, and cared for, and every time his owners approached him, he would wag his tail. He had hope, and that hope never disappeared, not for the rest of his life. 

Help give hope back to an animal. April is a month dedicated to stopping the abuse to innocent animals. Let’s start with this month, and continue showing compassion and love to animals every month. Show them the love that they were sent to this earth to give. 

Hats Off to You, Dr. Seuss

Today is not only Read Across America Day, but it is also Dr. Seuss Day. I mean, the two kind of go hand in hand. Be honest, no one as a kid, would have started to read anything if it wasn’t for Dr. Seuss and his catchy rhymes. I mean he was the real Slim Shady back in the day. A more clean and kid friendly Slim Shady. But he spit out those rhymes like no one else, and he had a huge impact on children across the country.

So in honor of today, I am going to let Duke take over, and give his reactions to some of Dr. Seuss’s quotes in his best sellers.

…………….

“I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I am..”

Well for one, my name is not Sam, it’s Duke. And two, I will eat just about anything, so bring those green eggs and ham my way, if this Sam character is just going to be wasteful.

“A person’s a person no matter how small.

So stop with the short jokes people. My mom and Aunt Brandi are people, although they look like midgets.

“You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.”

Throw that diet out the window. Eat all the cookies and pizza you can. Because even if you’re a circular shape, you make a pretty good looking circle, and I bet you’re a lot more satisfied.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” 

Be weird. Be crazy. Be yourself. The people that judge you, are just jealous they are not as fabulous.

“To the world you may be on person, but to one person you may be the World.”

Yes, I have to be a little sentimental and corny. I’m sorry. But my mom is one small little person, some may even say a midget, like I mentioned before, but she is the biggest and best part of my life. I’m sure you all have people like that in your life.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” 

Okay, this one is total bull crap if we are talking about finishing the last piece of pizza. That is sad stuff, and I won’t smile again, until there is another pizza in front of my face.

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”  

I don’t mean to be negative, but wouldn’t this make us sleep deprived. I think people go nuts, or even die, due to lack of sleep. Come on man, we can’t keep our eyes open all the time. Just isn’t logical.

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”

No offense, but I’m not prepared for that. I don’t have any mountain climbing equipment. They didn’t send any of that in my last BarkBox, so the mountain might have to keep waiting.

“These Things will not bite you. They want to have fun. Then, out of the box, came Thing Two and Thing One.”

Okay, no offense, I’m sure they are nice creatures, but you simply cannot trust something with blue hair. Also, when someone tells you they don’t bite, I feel like they possibly could still bite. Yea, I’m not sure what kind of shot covers a Thing One bite.

Sleep is like the unicorn – it is rumored to exist, but I doubt I will see any.”

Sorry for your luck Dr. Seuss, but I see sleep at least five times a day. I guess I found the unicorn.

“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

I mean, I guess you can try, but I’m not sure you’ll see much progress.

“With your head full of brains, and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good-street.”

But what if Siri get the directions screwed up. It’s happened before.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

Well we will never know how simple the answers are, because apparently, we will never be able to answer the question. This just makes everyone feel dumb.

“One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.”

Hmmm, I don’t know which one would taste better. Which one do you recommend. And is there some kind of two fish for one fish special today?  

…………….

Okay, so I am not sure Duke really grasped a lot of what Dr. Seuss was saying. At least it made for a great read. If you want a human’s take on some of his books, click here for my post from last year.


One thing we both agree on, Dr. Seuss was, is, and will always be the man. The man who encourages children all across America to read, and to actually enjoy it. Thanks, Dr. Seuss.

We Drool on Those who are Cruel 

Some of you humans hit us. Some of you humans starve us. Some of you humans scream at us. Some of you humans neglect and reject us. 

But what do we do when you do all of this to us – we continue to love you and we continue to want to please you. We are loyal to our deaths sometimes – the deaths that you cause by hurting us. 

Why do you want to harm us? We love unconditionally, something that you won’t find in any other human on earth. We care for you, always wanting to comfort you when you need it the most. We are loyal, always on your side through thick and through thin. Most of you appreciate that – most of you appreciate us. But some of you don’t. You abuse us. We are sad, but we continue on, trying to do better next time in order to make you proud of us and make you want to love us. 

If you are the type of person that enjoys harming us, please pass us along. You don’t deserve us, and we would like a chance to be with people that will treasure us. Leave us alone. You obviously don’t care about us, so why would you bother keeping us. We don’t want to be a part of your abuse and your hurtful games. Please, just don’t hurt us. Let us be with someone who will love us, who will pet us, who will cuddle us, who will kiss us, who will take care of us. 

Today is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Day – a day that helps shed some light on the awful mistreatment of not just us dogs, but every other living and loving animal out there. If you can’t treat us the way we would treat you, the way we deserve to be treated, please don’t waste our lives. Let us live with and love people that will cherish us and love us unconditionally for all our lives. 

You Are …

You are E V E R Y T H I N G

Wow, that is a short three word sentence that is loaded with so much more than meets the eye. Kind of like all of us. There is more to us than what everyone else sees on a daily basis. Heck there is even more to us than we can see ourselves. 

We all have the potential to do great things and be great people, but sometimes we shy away from being great and doing great because we don’t feel great. Phew, Did you get that!? Sometimes we feel unworthy of good things happening to us – like we don’t deserve something good because we don’t always live up to expectations of others as well as the expectations we set for ourselves. We can sometimes be our own biggest critic and beat ourselves up because we might not be exactly where we thought we would be at this point in life. If you’re like me, you might feel like your in a slump – Going through all the same motions everyday, being happy and doing well, but never truly feeling completely content or satisfied with life. And why is that you ask!? It’s because we stop trying or we stop growing because we don’t feel worthy or we don’t think there is anywhere else for us to go from where we are.

Well everyone, I have something big to throw out there to all of you. You are all worthy of greatness and you are all worthy of growing. you are not just ordinary people – no – you are all extraordinary people. 

You might not be where you want to be in life right now, but you are learning and you are growing through the situations you are in currently. You have so much to offer and you have so many more great things to do before your time is up. Just believe in yourself, because trust me, you are all worth believing in. 
You might not be a big executive in some huge company. In fact, maybe your simply a cashier at a convenience store, an elementary school teacher, a pizza delivery person, or an administrative assistant for people that are higher up than you, but you are still awesome and there are still people that depend on you. 

And maybe you’re a little strange and march to the beat of your own drum. But hey, at least people are noticing you and talking about you. You are quite the topic of discussion. Orindary people are just jealous that they can’t be as unique as you. 

And maybe you don’t exactly have your dream job just yet, or like other people your age, your not married yet with children, with your whole life where you want it to be. But you’re free to do what you want, be who want, and try as many things as you want until you find that perfect job or perfect husband. You are independent and you’re life is just beginning.

So I’m here to tell you all, that you are just this and you are not just that. In fact, you are so much more. You are everything, so get out there and start acting like it.