Tag Archives: confidence

Expectations, 4th Birthdays, and Halloween!

The other day as I was perusing my newsfeed I came across a story written about a pit bull named Meli. The author, Katie Crank, shared the four things she “wish[ed] I knew before loving-and losing-a pit bull.” When I first read the title of this story, I thought for sure I knew what was going to happen: a person who maybe didn’t know much about pit bulls or more or less believed in the negative stereotypes adopted one and suddenly their mind would be changed for the better about these dogs. Yet, when I actually read this story I got so much more.

You see, Simon has been an easier dog to have, and it’s mainly because we’ve had him since he was a puppy. That’s not to say that adopting an older dog is a bad thing, it’s just easy with Simon because we know all of his issues. Adopting him so young allowed us to do our best to socialize him, put him in training right away, and just get him used to things from an early age. With Rosee, things have been a real learning process. We had to learn what makes her tick, if you will. I’m not going to lie either, Rosee has had her issues. She’s not very trusting of strangers, can be reactive to certain types of other dogs, and likes her personal space.

As I was reading about Crank and her time with Meli I honestly felt as if someone was finally articulating everything I’ve learned with and about Rosee, but have never really said out loud. For instance, as Crank explains there are so many things we, as human owners, believe that our dogs need to be able to do. They need to behave and walk nicely on a leash, be able to get along with other dogs, and general be social beings, just to name a few. However, our expectations of dogs aren’t always right for them. Some dogs aren’t necessarily very social, and that’s okay. As Crank writes, “it is absolutely ok for her [Meli] to say no.” (when it comes to not wanting to meet some dongs she may pass by) Dogs each have their own personalities, and much like humans not all are social creatures. Really, why should I expect my dog to be the most outgoing animal on the planet, when I myself am not always in the mood to interact with others? The point being that our dogs (pit bull or not, large or small, furry or bald) all have something they can teach us as long as we’re willing to pay attention.

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Rosee may not be the “perfect” dog, but she is a loving dog who has taught me the fine art of cuddling, she often reminds me to let my voice be heard (even if I have to bark), to not worry so much about what other people think, and to be confident in everything I do. My family may have been the ones that adopted Rosee, but I know that she owns us. So much of what Crank wrote really struck a chord with me, and it was not just because it was about pit bulls. Rosee came into my family’s life at a time when we weren’t really even looking for another dog. Honestly, Simon was more than enough, and yet she gave us everything we didn’t know we needed. It feels like we’ve had Rosee forever. I can’t imagine a time when we didn’t have her. I mean, seriously, what did I do with myself in the days pre-Rosee?

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Especially, this past year with a broken toe and a subsequent 8 weeks in a leg cast, an extreme case of hives, and everything in between, it’s amazing learning exactly how resilient Rosee and the rest of us truly are.

So, Happy 4th Birthday Rosee and here’s to many more years of doggie escapades!

And to everyone else, all of us here at Play Hard, Bark Often wish you a frightfully fun (and safe) Halloween!

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Four Fool-proof Ways to Slay Dragons and Make Friends

In a common occurrence way that can only otherwise be described as widespread foolishness, walks around my neighborhood with my energetic pups are never completely successful until we have a tally of at least one person or group of people giving us dirty looks and sometimes making hurtful comments. I suppose it is these people’s way of conveying the publicly accepted (and expected) condemnation of us committing the ultimate sin: taking our Pit Bulls out of their prison (house) and setting them on an unsuspecting public. Yikes! So, to combat the dirty looks, nasty comments, and just general meanness that can be encountered when deciding to share your own lovable pup (Pit Bull or any other breed) I have developed four fool-proof ways of slaying these pesky “dragons” and possibly turning them into friendly townsfolk. Feel free to mold and use to your own devices.

1. Artic Glaciers Ain’t Got Nothing On Me: Glare. Glare like it’s going out of style. Glare like it’s the only expression your face knows how to twist into. I know it may seem a little mean and as if you are stooping down to the dragon’s level, but sometimes you need a non-confrontational way of letting someone know that their behavior is not appropriate or accepted. Glaring works. Glaring makes me feel better, like I am the bigger person who got the last word in because I didn’t even say one, just used the power of my stare. It’s a powerful thing.

2. Walk On By: Feeling non-confrontational? Simply don’t care how other people react to your beloved pooch? Good for you. You have reached a level of confidence that I find is attainable for myself on some days, others not so much (which is where #1 comes in handy to have in my repertoire). You are able to just walk on by (don’t stop), walk on by (don’t stop), walk on by (don’t stop)—Oldies but goodies am I right? Anyway, if you truly want to feel like the biggest bigger person who has no time for detracting dragons and their superficial stereotypical beliefs and actions then this way of reacting is for you. Walking by without recognition is the ultimate way of showing another that their actions do not matter, that you are taking your dog for a walk so they need to just deal!

3. Make It Snappy, Comeback Style: Since not all of us humans living on this Earth are so well-equipped with high-rise level confidence and unshakeable maturity that #2 might require (points to self) then there is option #3. Speak up! If someone’s dissing your dog or frowning at your fur-ball then say something. I’ll never forget this one incident when a terrible woman kept harassing me and Theresa when we were at a local park with our dogs. Theresa finally put an end to this woman’s bullying by firing back at her. The woman certainly did not seem to expect this and quickly turned tail. (Read the full story here.) The fact is you are an advocate for your dog, Pit Bull or not. If you feel as if someone needs some correcting in their beliefs and behavior then say something. I’m not saying to obnoxiously push your views onto others, but when people are being truly awful to me simply because I am walking my Pit Bull down the street then something needs to be said. And trust me, slaying your dragons with a well-spoken comeback does wonders to boost one’s confidence in a totally healthy and magnanimous way.

4. Model Behavior: Of course, the best way to truly silence the roaring of dragons and end their reign of terror once and for all is to model good behavior. The best revenge is a life well lived. So, when I am out on a walk with Rosee by my side directing her thousand watt grin at those that would cower away, I simply smile along with her, wish them a “Good morning!” and give Rosee a treat for a job well done. You never know, this could be your otherworldly magic casting its spell to transform said dragons into the respectable human beings they are more than capable of being.

You go brave knights!