Potcakes

Last year I hosted a writing retreat on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. It was my second time there, and I loved it! One of the interesting things about this exotic location is the potcake dogs.

According to Wikipedia, “a potcake dog is a mixed-breed dog type found on several Caribbean islands. Its name comes from the congealed peas and rice mixture that local residents traditionally eat, as the rice that cakes to the bottom of the pot would go to the dogs. Although appearance varies, potcakes generally have smooth coats, cocked ears, and long faces. A group of potcakes is known as a parliament.”

PHOTO

In my experience, the dogs—who generally travel in small groups—are friendly. They’re usually looking for a food handout. If you accommodate them (which I don’t think you’re supposed to, but I did), then you have friends for life!

The same thing happened when I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

And the same thing happened when I was on a writing sabbatical in Darby, Montana—only this time, it was with a small herd of deer!

Would you feed a stray animal—even if you’re not supposed to?

Would you feed a stray animal—even if you’re not supposed to? Click To Tweet

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Choose Your Battles

Coming out of the grocery store, we were delighted to see this sight!

Click to enlarge the photo

I love that:

  • The driver brought his/her companion animal along.
  • Parked his four-legged friend in the shade, close to the door.
  • The driver provides goggles for a no-bugs-in-the-eyes ride for his/her buddy.

I’m usually an easygoing person, but there are a few things that raise my hackles. One of them is leaving an animal inside of a car on a hot day; I don’t care if the windows are cracked. 

On the Animal Legal Defense website, I learned that in the U.S. over half of the states have “hot car” laws (laws that prohibit leaving unattended animals in vehicles). 

Currently, twenty of these states have “hot car” laws that allow certain public officials (e.g., law enforcement, humane officers) to break into the vehicle to rescue the animal. They include Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

The following states have “Good Samaritan” hot car laws—laws that allow private citizens to take matters into their own hands—or proposed laws: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Alabama has a “hot car” bill pending.

Shame on New Jersey and West Virginia. In these states, although it is illegal to leave an animal trapped in a hot car, no one is granted the authority to break into the vehicle to save the animal, not even law enforcement.

My state, Idaho, doesn’t have any laws on the books about this one way or another, so I’ve decided it’s a “choose your battles” state. Breaking the window of a car to save an animal is a battle I’d gladly choose. 

Legal or not, would you break a car window on a hot day to save an animal? 

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Peace Begins with Me

Enzo is the main character in Garth Stein’s book, The Art of Racing in the Rain. “Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs).”

Enzo (or Ensō, both are correct) is also the name of a Zen circle, a Buddhist symbol that represents infinity, “no-thing.”

For me, that symbol translates to simplicity, minimalism, a meditative state, and enlightenment which I define as “Recognizing that we are all connected, then consciously living that realization—our thoughts, words, and actions an unshakable reflection of that understanding.”

Zen is an enlightened state of mind. It’s also a way of being—living. As we close 2017 and look to writing the pages of a new year, my mantra is “Peace begins with me. Right here. Right now.”

Will you please join me?

Incidentally, The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of my all-time favorite books. If you haven’t read it yet, please carve out time and gift yourself with the opportunity. You’ll be glad you did.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Shouting Doesn’t Help

The road trip to my sabbatical location wasn’t much different from watching “I Love Lucy.”

SCENE: 70 mph, five lanes, one fork, two exits, lots of traffic, freezing rain, and slick road conditions at dusk. Oh, and did I mention the frequent bounding of mule deer across the highway?

LEN says: “There’s a fork in the road up ahead. When you veer right, stay in the left lane because the road we need to take is across from a shopping mall on the right.”

LAURIE shouts: “What?!”

SIRI grumbles: “Recalculating route…” (but I’m sure what followed under her breath was “Ay-Yi-Yi” with a Ricky Ricardo accent) as we missed the turnoff.

Hint #2 — The cat where I’m living during my sabbatical is usually indoor/outdoor. However, because wolves are down from the surrounding mountains hunting for food—one seen as close as the neighbor’s porch—he’s strictly indoor at this time.

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” —Robert McCloskey, American author and illustrator of children’s books

Can you relate?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Honda Fit — Barely!

Dog lovers that we are, when we’re out running errands, we typically notice when other drivers are transporting their four-legged friends around with them.

Recently we were behind a small Honda Fit when all of a sudden a big beige bottom belonging to a Mastiff filled the back window. Quick research on my iPhone told me:

“Massive is the word that comes to mind when you first see this dog. Other breeds might match or come close to his height, but the Mastiff outweighs them all. He’s considered the largest breed in the world and can weigh 220 pounds or more.”

Click on the photo to enlarge. Look closely at each side window.

While discussing that astounding fact, we turned the corner behind them. The change in direction must have jostled an as-yet-unseen slumbering giant. Before we knew it, TWO mastiffs—each with their head out a side window—filled the back.

Len and I laughed and almost in unison said: “Honda Fit—Barely!”

What was your most recent barely fit, tight squeeze situation?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Seeing Spots

Mary Engelbreit is famous for her quote — Everyone needs their own spot — and her colorful, smile-inducing artwork. And while she was referring to dogs in this quote (a big nod to Willa here):

I think everyone needs their own spot, too — as in location. Some indoors, some out, I have several. Here’s one example:

In addition to any animal companions you may have in your life…

Where’s one of your favorite spots?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Sidekicks and Sidecars

After the Writers’ Institute last week, Len and I rented a car and drove to Crown Point, Indiana to visit with dear friends. Along the way we saw the following sight: a man with his companion animal in the sidecar of his motorcycle. It’s hard to see in the photograph, but that’s not a muzzle on his dog; it’s straps to hold on his goggles. I love it!

Traveling companions

We smiled, waved, and laughed, as did other people in the cars around us. Clearly this traveling duo enjoy each other’s company—immensely. It was a real “feed good” moment to witness.

Len and I travel together well. Sometimes—especially when he flies—I’m in his “sidecar.” Other times, he’s in mine. Regardless, we always have a wonderful time.

Who frequents your sidecar?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Before and After

Willa, our vertically challenged Irish Wolfhound (thanks to a healthy dose of Old English Sheepdog), normally has long, thick, wiry hair.

Willa 12-01-2013

Willa’s BEFORE coat – long, thick, and wiry

Getting ready for spring, we took her to the groomer and asked for a “puppy cut” (even though she’s almost 9), where typically only 1/2 to 1-inch of the coat remains.

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Willa’s AFTER coat – sleek as a seal

A haircut is just one example of before and after, there are a multitude of others:

  • Things I wish I’d known before ____ (fill in the blank)
  • Redecorating/remodeling
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Manuscript editing
  • Taking a stand for/against something
  • The list goes on

Much like Willa’s haircut, many “afters” turn out spectacularly; some, not so much…

Are you pleased with your most recent “after?”

 

© Laurie Buchanan

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Reading, Writing, and…

Every Monday morning we drop Willa off at day camp after driving through Starbuck’s for a puppaccino—a vital part of the weekly routine.

Not on the menu, a puppaccino is a small, complimentary cup of whipped cream for your pup that you can get along with a paid-for item.

After check-in, we leave Willa at “school” where she socializes with other dogs, interacts with humans (both male and female), and gets her toenails trimmed without fear.

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In the back left you’ll notice a pool for supervised swim time.

When I think about my years at school, I learned several things that serve me well. Aside from reading and writing, the most important skill I learned was typing—something I use every day.

In addition to reading and writing, what’s the single most important thing you learned in school?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Yoga – Gone to the Dogs!

Yoga invites us to drop beneath the surface of life into quieter, more introspective realms; at our house it’s a family affair.

First and foremost, it’s important to pay close attention — especially to one’s breathing.

Next, sink into stillness and get comfortable…

…really comfortable.

Our online instructor says, “Yoga straps help us stretch to the limit, increasing flexibility and muscular strength.” Willa’s look says, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

“Happy Baby” pose gently brings a greater awareness to the hip joints.

The “Butterfly” pose (also known as “Cobbler’s” pose) provides relief to muscle tension around the inner thigh area.

We use several props in our practice. Lexi will be the equivalent of 77 human years this August. She appreciates the comfortable support of an extra blanket throughout the session.

Legs-up-the-wall (or simply balanced in the air) is a posture that gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it.

Willa is doing an exaggerated “Downward Facing Dog” pose. This posture feels especially good after resting because it elongates and lengthens the back. And as a mild inversion, it’s great for increasing blood flow to the brain and eyes.

Certain yoga postures can strengthen the cervical curve in the back of the neck.

Commonly referred to as “Corpse” pose, we simply call it “Dead Dog” at our house.

After a balanced practice, the muscles in the entire body will have been stretched. “Shavasana” provides the body with a chance to regroup and reset itself.

Namaste

Namaste — hands held in prayer-like fashion in front of the heart, accompanied by a slight bow — represents the belief that there’s a divine spark within each of us. This gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one, by the soul in another.

nam means bow
as means I
te means you

Therefore, namaste literally means “bow I you” or “I bow to you.”

If you have animal companions at home, what do they enjoy doing with you?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved