June is Joyful

June 19, 2024…

It has been awhile since I’ve written a blog so here you go:). Hope everyone is gearing up for Summer!  Phoebe turned eight last week which is a real milestone for an Irish Wolfhound.  We had a little celebration and made her a homemade meatloaf cake complete with sweet potato icing and beets, her favourite vegetable.

She got her favourite hedgehog stuffy and some other tasty treats too.  We spoke to her breeder and found out that both her mom and Dad are eleven this year.  This was amazing news because anything above ten is extraordinary for the breed.  We will be sending her breeder a copy of Phoebe’s book.

We enjoy the dog days of Summer by taking Phoebe out really early in the morning and late in the evening.  She likes to cool off in our air conditioned house and loves a slurp of goat milk after going in the heat.  We are also hoping to go for a few doggy ice-cream cones soon.

We are wishing you all a wonderful Summer.  Stay cool and give your dogs a scritch or scratch from our home to yours.

Sending a high-paw,

xo …

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

 

May is Marvelous or is it Marvellous?

BLOG POST#8

May 9th, 2023

May is here in full bloom on the West coast of Canada.  Phoebe & I have been doing early morning river walks almost every day.  It’s been marvelous or is it marvellous?  Nature never disappoints us here. I’m always grateful to see any creature of the forest in the morning.   We have been fortunate to see our resident eagle couple with their new fledglings.  They are learning to fly and it is quite a soaring sight.  I also saw a little possum the other morning crossing the footpath.  Not to mention the raccoon that climbed up a tree to avoid Phoebe’s curiosity.

All the cherry trees are in full bloom around the city.  The tulips and daffodils have sprung and the lilacs are blooming.  The birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and Summer is almost here.  It has definitely felt like a long winter here in Vancouver. I’m taking it all in and getting outside as much as possible.  I love to take Phoebe out for socializing in the afternoon.  Sometimes we go to Gardenworks in Burnaby and she visits the floral counter for cookies.  She gets an absurd amount of attention there and loves every second of it.

I’m also excited to include more fresh things in her diet.  A little extra crunch from a fresh apple, carrot, or zucchini.  It’s a time to clean out the old and in with the new.  I like to review her diet in the Spring too.  She has been on tripe, duck and venison for quite some time now.  I think it’s good to switch things up every few years.  Even if you are just switching suppliers or trying new supplements.  I am adding a kelp probiotic this week.

Anyways, I will keep it short this month.  I plan to enjoy my Summer with long dog walks, swimming and being grateful for the little things.  Phoebe is turning seven June 11th and we plan to have a Birthday party for her and her favourite humans.  We are wishing you all a wonderful rest of Spring and look forward to connecting again.

If you are looking to get a signed copy of my book, “Phoebe Bear If You Dare” I will be at “New West Craft” at the River Market May 20th 11AM – 4PM.  I will also be at the Irish wolfhound Canada Club Specialties show May 27th 9AM-3PM.  Do come by and say hello:). I will also be at the Burnaby Farmer’s Market for “Kids Fest” June 17th reading our book.  The last event of June 2023 is at New West Craft Summer Night Market June 30th 4PM-9PM.

Kind Regards & Woofs,

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

Spring Is Itchy Scratchy…

April 5th, 2023

Dogs love Spring!  The flowers are blooming, the trees are releasing pollen and the grass is growing.  All this beauty can have an impact on our beloved pets.  It can be quite a challenge for a lot of dog owners with allergies.  Yes, the more pet owners I talk to the more I realize that allergies are a very common challenge for our furry friends.  Phoebe had such a bad skin reaction that she got referred to a dermatologist.  We discovered she is allergic to trees, grass, weeds, pollen, and the cat.  Phisher, the cat thinks that’s hilarious.

I was shocked that a dog could be allergic to so many environmental things that are part off our every day life.  So, we first tried an elimination diet switching out a different uncommon protein each month.  Phoebe ate kangaroo, venison, and duck.  We feed a raw diet so we concluded that diversity of proteins she did not regularly eat needed to be introduced.  After more investigation with our “Irish Wolfhound” feeding group we discovered that it can also be a problem to feed non organic beef and chicken to dogs that have protein allergies.  It’s also what those animals eat that impact’s your dog.

These days we figure we have it under control, but this season has been particularly bad.  Our miracle item is apple cider vinegar!  It works for relieving dry itchy skin, rashes caused by yeast and poison ivy.  You have to mix it with a 50/50 water solution and put in a spray bottle.  Alternatively, I use it proactively once a week and dip Phoebe’s giant paws in it.  You can even administer it orally and aids in digestion.  So many benefits and you can buy it almost anywhere.  Just make sure it’s unpasteurized and organic.

We also try to boost her immune system during this time by adding a green mineral supplement with spirulina.  We slow cook a bone broth with garlic and add a couple tablespoons to her meat for dinner.  I really love that we are coming into a season of fresher fruit & veggies.  Phoebe loves blueberries, pineapple, lettuce, carrots, apples, zucchini, beets and celery.  I now think more than ever it’s important to add these things to your pet’s diet.

The other game changer for Phoebe is local honey…just a teaspoon a day after dinner helps to boost her immune and helps with allergies.  We like to go to Granville Island and get the “Mountain Flower Honey” boy Chilliwack River Valley Natural Honey.  It is the cutest thing to watch a Wolfhound lick honey off a spoon!  So sweet!!!

We are both wishing you a wonderful Spring.  Eat good, get lots of rest, kiss your pets and enjoy the moment.  Before you know it Summer will arrive!  Time is going by at warp speed and it’s almost time to plan Phoebe’s 7th Birthday party!  Woot…woot! 

Kind Regards & Woofs,

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

Love Is In The Air…

BLOG POST#6

February 9th, 2023

The extraordinary thing about dogs is they love you unconditionally.  There is no judgement and the companionship is consistent and beautiful.  I have been thinking about this a lot lately as Phoebe is approaching seven years in June.  She has truly been a privilege to own and be owned by.  I describe her as a magical giant beast with a heart so big it always leaves a lasting impression on people.  Really, my book is a love story about our family and her.

One thing I strongly believe about our relationships with dogs is that you get out what you put in.  This is especially true with affection, training, feeding, and  the time you take just being with your dog.  Often we rush through our days and sometimes take that time for granted.  So, I say take a lesson from Phoebe and stop to smell the roses or fire hydrant.  Cherish the time with your dog because they are with us for such a short time.

Affection is a funny thing…. Phoebe is almost always the first to receive it in the morning and evening from every member of our family.  This is a beautiful thing to observe.  I love to watch my kids get up and go directly to the dog to say good morning.  I love going down the stairs and hearing Phoebe’s tail loudly “wagging” against the sofa in anticipation of a cuddle.  I love watching my husband come home from work and going straight to the dog for a cuddle.  Affection is good for the soul and it’s good for the dog too.

Affection comes in many forms and there are many health benefits for both human and canine.  Phoebe loves to have her ears rubbed and grumbles in delight.  We call this her “Dog Purr” or “Durr”.  She also loves to be massaged so I often will just sit with her and rub her shoulders, neck and spine.  The most hilarious thing she loves is to have her back rubbed whilst she sits her back end on you and her front paws on the floor.  This seems to be her favourite past time with my husband, Kris.  It’s become an entertaining post-dinner ritual.

I guess my point is a dog’s love is pure.  I don’t know of any relationship where love is this sincere.  Dogs also have the same hormones that humans do.  They go through the same chemical changes during emotional states.  Both dogs and humans release the hormone oxytocin.  For humans this hormone is associated with feeling love and affection.  It can also affect health and wellness.

So, my biggest piece of advice is love your dog like crazy.  It will enrich your lives, bring your family together, create good vibes all around for both humans and hairy ones.  What is that quote…”All You Need is A Dog’s Love…”.  I speak from experience, that Phoebe has brought us an unspeakable amount of joy.  Dog’s rule and cat’s drool:)

Kind Regards & Woofs,

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

Fresh Start

For me the month of January is a month of cleansing the mind, body and house!  Putting away Christmas decorations can feel a little sad, but at the same time it feels like a fresh start.  The glass is either half full or empty.  Which option do you choose?  Perspective is an interesting thing! We have the entire year ahead and there are so many possibilities!  As we start 2023 I always like to clear the clutter because it helps me clear my mind.  I need order to be creative and forge ahead with a positive mindset.

Getting rid of stuff you don’t use equates to more time to make memories.  This includes Phoebe’s toys and accessories.  Did you know a Wolfhound has a lot of stuff!  I go through her toys and brushes, supplements etc…. Out with the old and in with the essentials is my new motto.  I’m also planning to attack my closet one weekend this month.  The garage is also a complete mess so that’s a Spring to do for sure.

This time of year is also a planning time for our family.  Will we take a holiday or do a house project? I’ve been contemplating a dog walking business for several years and am thinking this is the perfect year to start it.  Phoebe is approaching her senior years at age seven this June.  It’s crazy how fast giant dogs age.  Their life span is 8-10 years at best. We want to cherish every moment and are always thinking of her when we plan our holidays.

I am also motivated to switch up my routine in January.  I try not to be too hard on myself about exercise and working out.  We have had a particularly bad winter of multiple colds and flus and I have just recovered from a bad bug.  I want to enjoy less rushed dog walks and do more exercise I truly enjoy.  I absolutely love yoga and try to do that every weekday.  I need the meditation and breathing to be calm and present with my busy family.

I want to take Phoebe to different places for walks too.  Our trainer always recommended this and it’s something we don’t do enough.  We do make a special effort to get her out off-leash daily at our local Fraser River.  This can be especially challenging living in a city with a giant, but we make it work.  It is often my husband who will take her down to the river at 5:30AM so she can roam free in the dark.  She is really different in this environment because she is a hunting breed.  It brings out the primal dog in her and she’s often on a scent.

I also like to reassess our eating habits in January and switch up our meals.  I feel like December is such an indulgent month that I like to take away something I love in January.  This month I’m trying not to eat dairy.  A challenge given to me by my youngest son who is twelve.  He has to be off dairy for health reasons(anaphylaxis) and I agreed to the challenge.  It has definitely been much harder than I thought.  Cheese is my favourite thing in the world.  However, I do feel much healthier even after ten days.

Lastly, I want to continue to make more meaningful connections with our local community.  As a new author, it’s the very thing I’ve enjoyed most about writing a children’s book.  Sharing our family’s story has brought me closer to many people around the neighbourhood and world.  Yesterday, I was dropping a book off at my eighty-five year old neighbour’s house.  I didn’t know them well, but by the time we had a chat I knew their background, how many kids they had, and about their Welsh Terrier dog.  

So, this year I encourage you to be authentic, to make changes and shake up your life no matter how old or young you are!  I also believe we need a kinder more fun year.  Get out and see your family if you’re lucky enough to have them close.  Go for coffee with a friend, take the dog on a different walk, do something that makes your heart sing.  Make a vision board and say twenty-twenty three will be a good year by golly!

Kind Regards & Woofs,

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

NO-Vember Take Care…

BLOG POST#3

November 4th, 2022

I write this blog today whilst my youngest human, age twelve, has been home sick with a bad flu.  November is a busy month, but does it have to be?  It’s the time of year when people and dogs tend to get run down due to weather and in our neck of the woods little to no sunshine.  It’s also kennel cough season for dogs too.  So, be sure not to overdo it and take care of yourself.  One thing is for sure if you don’t have your health you can’t look after others.

Back to NO-Vember!  I am the first one to admit to always trying to do too much in a day instead of slowing down and doing less.  We are only in this life for a short time so being present with your fellow humans and furry loved ones is really important.  Taking the time to listen to your kids or snuggle your pets.  It’s a gift! One day they will grow up and not be as cute…ha ha ha!

I also make an attempt to eat healthier this month.  Though I am not perfect in this department!  My biggest challenge is chocolate!  I like to do hardier meals…soups,  stews, and cabbage rolls.  Comfort food if you will.  I am really lucky to have a son that enjoys cooking.  Tonight, I’m making homemade chicken noodle soup with lots of veggies and bone broth.  In the winter months, I also cook a bone broth for the dog with garlic.  It’s made from duck feet and beef marrow bones. Sounds delicious right?  This is especially healthy for dogs with arthritis which Phoebe has.

I recently read an article that suggests NO-vember is a month to quiet your schedule and recharge before December.  It makes sense to me because we need to replenish ourselves or recharge our batteries.  I try to make 1/2 hour to exercise every weekday…even if it’s just a quick yoga class.  One thing I do for myself to quiet my mind.  I do find it really helps to ground me and not feel anxious on busy days.  So, if you feel you are overextended try to do less if possible.  Your mind is a big part of your health.

Lastly, dress warm and smart!  We live in a rain forest so for us it’s time to lug out all the gear including rain pants, jackets, layers, boots and gloves! This also applies to our Irish Wolfhound who has more accessories than I care to admit.  She has two coats, an under and wire hair, so it’s important for her to be dried properly.  Otherwise, it  can lead to hot spots and skin infections.  It takes a good couple hours for her to dry for this reason.  I always give her head and ears a really good towel dry so she doesn’t get an ear infection.

Our walks start out in the pitch dark so a glow collar and flashlight or toque with a head light is really important for safety.  I also like to check her paws when we come in because occasionally she gets burs stuck in her paw pad and they can cause a lot of pain.  Paws can get really dry in the winter months so be sure to give them some tender loving care.  I use coconut oil every other weekend.  Careful though it can make their paws slip on hard floors so best to do this right before bed time.  This way it has time to soak in.

Take Care of yourself friends.  Food is medicine so eat good stuff!  Feed your dog good food.  Give your people a hug and your pets too.  Be kind, be healthy and appreciate what’s in front of you:). Life is full of change and those ordinary moments of eating meals together or snuggling a pet are the very things you will miss one day!

Kind Regards & Woofs,

XO…

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

Fall is Here! Enjoy it!

BLOG POST#3

October 5th, 2022

I love Fall!  In the blink of an eye Summer is gone and the leaves are starting to float off the trees.  It’s such a magical time of year especially if you’re out walking your dog.  Change is in the air with crisper mornings and darker evenings.  Pumpkins are out in every store and everything just seems to smell good.  Pumpkin spice latte anyone??? Pumpkin peanut butter dog cookies any dog???

Even though it’s a busy time of year for most…stop and enjoy it!  It is perhaps one of the most beautiful times of year here on the Canadian west coast.  All the technicolour of leaves is a painter’s dream.  If you live on the coast you know the rain is coming so get out with your pets and take it in.  Play in the leaves…run around trees and be silly!  It’s good for the soul.

I am busy getting ready for Fall and Christmas markets.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get out for a walk with Phoebe.  Even when you’re tired at the end of the day it’s just good for you to get fresh air.  Everyone needs a break from routine and tasks.  It’s balance and animals provide exactly that.  They are so special.

We would like to wish everyone a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend!   We are wishing you all a healthy and happy weekend with your human and furry families.  We are having a small turkey dinner with all the fixings and of course, pumpkin pie.  If I have time I will make some pumpkin dog cookies for the neighbours dogs.  See recipe link below…

https://fortheloveofcooking.net/recipe/pumpkin-peanut-butter-dog-treats

Lastly, Halloween is fast approaching.  It’s a fun time of year to see all the houses getting dressed up!  I personally love it more than any other holiday.  It’s so much fun to watch all the kids on Halloween night wandering around in costumes.  I might even get a costume for Phoebe.  Any advice on what she should be?

If you have a dog that is stressed during the Halloween season I recommend some extra attention and care during this time.  I like to stock up on raw bones and give them in a safe space during fireworks.  I also give her extra attention and love reassuring her that it’s OK.  I know a lot of dogs and cats struggle with this.  There are also many calming natural remedies at your local pet stores that can help.

Well, I need to get back to planning markets so live life large and stop to smell the leaves.  Take different walks in different neighbourhoods.  And make Sunday Funday!  This is Phoebe’s advice.  She is a professional couch potato and has a degree in relaxation and couch surfing.

Woof & Kind Regards

Celene & Phoebe-Bear

BACK TO ROUTINE

As usual September has arrived in the blink of an eye! For me it’s a time to get organized with schedules, food, and health for humans and hairy family members.  It’s such a beautiful month with the sun still shining on most days, but somewhat cooler temperatures. Change is in the air.  As tighter schedules loom, and routine is around the corner with kids going back to school so is the impact on our pets.  They look forward to routine walk times, but with the change in season a new schedule is often in order.

In the darker months we often find this a challenge with our Irish Wolfhound, Phoebe.  She can be quite protective of her family members in the dark. To manage this reactive behaviour we try to do one early morning off-leash walk and one mid afternoon leashed walk, along with a brief outing to go potty at night.  In the summer we are more unstructured, but typically an early 6AM walk and late 8PM walk due to the heat.

I also love involving our kids in the duties of feeding the cat and walking the dog.  You will often hear, “You wanted a dog” a lot around our household.  My kids, both boys 12 and 17, do sometimes grumble about the responsibility.  I like to remind them that they begged me for a dog for a year.  Ultimately, it was me that wanted a giant dog.  I knew a lot of the work would be on my shoulders.

However, it’s nice to have help and it teaches them that they are part of the support for our furry family members.  The cat is even on a different schedule and is demanding attention at all hours of the early morning.  I thank my oldest for this and his night owl hours.  Imagine a yowling senior cat staring at you at 4AM!  It’s a sight for weary eyes.  Luckily, my partner, gets up at that time to feed him.

One of the most challenging things for working pet owners with kids is getting out the door in the morning.  I see people sleepily walking their dogs at 6AM before leaving at seven in the morning.  Often, pets are left home alone eight to ten hours.  I do highly suggest a dog walker in this circumstance.  As human caregivers we are their world and they just wait for us to get home.  They give us so much companionship that they deserve it back.  For cats and dogs time is the currency.  

Food is also a major focus for us and getting back to healthier habits.  Eating good food is really important for health, vitality and brings connection to family.  It fuels you and should make you feel good and cooking it should be fun.  The organizational part may not excite you, but it will make life easier on those nights when the kids have sports, the dog needs a walk, and dinner made.

Personally, I like to to clean out the fridge on Fridays and take an inventory of what needs to be thrown away and what can still be used.  I strongly dislike wasting food in a world saturated with consumption.  Saturdays, I do a loose meal plan for what we will eat for seven days and all the ingredients I need.  I divide this list into two stores and what days I will hit each depending on my schedule.

I do the same for my pets while I’m cleaning out the fridge I clean out the freezer.  As both my cat and dog are on a raw diet the freezer is usually full of raw meat and veggies.  I like to have enough for a month so I’m not running to the store every week.  I also take stock of supplements for humans and furry friends.  Supplements are especially important for animals on a raw diet.  The basics include a probiotic and/or goat milk, multi-vitamin, and a green mineral supplement, as well as an omega oil.

Fall is also a great time to pay attention to everyone’s health.  Do you need to make a doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off.  Do your kids need to see their doctor, dentist or naturopath. As my pets age I notice their teeth need to be cleaned too!  Does the dog need to be groomed or have his or her nails trimmed.  I like to make all my appointments and schedule them a week apart so we aren’t overcommitted in one week.

All in all, it’s a lot of work and a lot of fun to have kids, a cat and a dog oh my!  I find getting organized is key to my sanity and not feeling stressed during the week.  I like to enjoy my kids and spend quality time with our cat and dog.  That means having days that are focussed on organizing so there are days I don’t have to.  It frees up my time so I can do things like write this blog or take a leisurely walk with Phoebe.  One of my very favourite things!

Kind Regards & Woof,

Celene
PA to Phoebe-Bear

 

DOGS ARE GOOD FOR THE SOUL

Dogs have heart and soul and so much more!  They impact the lives of their humans and insert joy into our everyday lives.  Dogs invoke emotion whether it be happy, sad, frustrated, amused,  emotional etc…. They themselves seem to have an emotional nature at times.  A resistance to listen unless a particularly appetizing treat is involved. An exuberance to get out the door for you when it’s time to walk.  An empathizing look or lean when you are sad.  A drive to work on command or manipulate treats from you.

They have big impact on our health and emotional well being. It’s not surprising they have been companions to humans for tens of thousands of years.  They are always happy to see you when you come home.  It might be a cliche to say that they give you unconditional love.  But it’s so true and when you experience that bond it is rather magical and/or chemical.  When a dog stares at you it releases oxytocin, a hormone related to human bonding.  The benefits are the feeling of relaxation, increased trust and empathy.

In short, dogs make people happy and it’s no wonder people are crazy for these joyful creatures.  Humans and dogs have shared a bond sins neolithic times.  Dogs are diverse and in addition to a companion can work, hunt, retrieve and guard.  The one most compelling reason to have them is they always put a smile on your face. And don’t get me started on watching the bond with your own kids.

I find myself not being able to pass by our Irish Wolfhound, Phoebe, without giving her a loving pet or kiss.  In fact it’s literally impossible for any member of our family to walk past her by with her tail whipping against the wall.  It is instant relaxation and something I look forward to first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.  Honestly, I probably stop to give her love many times during the day.  Just a glance from her is an instant mood boost.  I never knew a dog could be so uplifting…it’s magical!

Dogs also have a special impact on kids.  A playful nature, curiosity, and sense of wonder as a meeting of the minds bonds child and dog.  If you are lucky enough to observe this as a parent it is one of the most endearing relationships to witness.  I often catch myself in awe and wonder watching my boys coming in the door and heading straight to the dog for a cuddle.  No matter the age this is the bond these beloved creatures have with their young family members. It is pure organic love.

I cherish these days as our girl, Phoebe, is now approaching senior years.  I can’t really express in words how much she has impacted us as a family.  She has brought us together, taught us a lesson in love, responsibility, but mostly pure joy.  Her presence in our house is absolutely wonderful.  It is such a treasure that she has inspired me to write my first children’s book about our adventures with her.  I just delight in photographing and writing about our memories together with our family. 

The impact of a dog on people is pure magic.  It is organic, unconditional, and profound.  We’ve always had cats prior to getting Phoebe.  I didn’t understand the giant ride we were in for.  Though it was a lot of dedication and hard work with hours of training, consistency and love the result is a magical dog with the most loving temperament towards humans.  You definitely get out what you put in.  No dog is perfect and we have learned that over the years too.  She isn’t always great with other dogs.

We take the good with the bad and focus on all the most endearing qualities.  So, if you have the time and commitment and want a companion get a dog.  Just don’t take the decision lightly.  It’s literally like getting a toddler for life, but boy is it giant fun!  Dogs are awesome and I highly recommend them!  They will improve your entire family’s emotional and mental health.  I am witness to it and a better person for having a giant dog in my life.

Woof & Kind Regards,

Celene Anne Collison

Phoebe’s Personal Assistant