Archive for February, 2015


I’m thrilled that one of my favorite pet bloggers, Sharon Castellanos, agreed to post some of her wise observations here today! Sharon is a San Francisco-based freelance writer, editor and creator of Grouchy Puppy, a pet-centric online community sharing stories, photos and interviews that inspire, educate or just make you feel good.  Her work has been published on travel site Uptake and good-news site Tonic.  Sharon can be found capturing city images and story ideas on her iphone while out walking her very large rescue dog Cleo. You can follow all the adventure on Twitter @grouchypuppy, join the pack on Facebook and even see Sharon’s occasional travel story on her blog Everywhere Travel.

Why Dogs Can Provide the Perfect Counter Weight In Our Lives

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive ch’i.  In San Francisco, we have many practitioners of Feng Shui and schools offering certifications.  I have tried applying a few basic techniques, like the orientation of our mirrors.

Hilary asked me to write a guest post about anything for Fang Shui Canines, as long as I was passionate about the subject.  I’m not terribly passionate about Feng Shui, but I am passionate about dogs and my belief that dogs can help improve our life because they offer us ch’i, or positive energy.

Cleo at her most Zen

If my husband or I are arguing, or one of us is just retelling a story we heard, and we are particularly zealous in our arm gestures, or our voices sound agitated, our dog Cleo will come over and take turns leaning against one of us.  She works to get us to calm our movements, and lower our voices to what she considers normal.  She pointedly tries to give us a dose of love, concern and affection until we accept it, and turn our focus on her.  If we are quietly sitting and reading the paper, she can be found in another room sleeping with her emotional radar set to autopilot.

Consider when you are out walking with your dog, and you both are surprised by a sudden sound or unexpected movement from someone turning the corner ahead of you.  Does your dog react immediately or do they pause, even for a millisecond, to see what you do first?  My dog does.  When there is a noise outside the front door that she cannot see or recognize, she will look at me for direction before she begins to bark.

What is the unconditional love that a dog offers but ch’i?  When you are feeling blue, does your dog do something unexpected to make you laugh or maybe they choose that day to hold your gaze longer than they normally do?  I believe dogs mirror our emotions and then do what they seem genetically wired to do, make us human.

Consider these simple ways dogs influence us positively:

Dogs get us to play and exercise often when we’re not expecting to, thus we burn calories while having a good time

  • Dogs can cause us to develop or reconnect with our own sense of wonderment about the world around us as adults
  • Dogs will more often offer us their love first, before we give them ours
  • Dogs can make us feel warm and protected when we need it the most
  • Dogs give of themselves as therapy, service and guardians to us humans while asking for little in return
  • Dogs can cause us to become energetic or calm with little effort

Ever since being around my first dog as five year old, I’ve felt an affinity towards dogs.  They are all different yet they bring a certain energy with them that is undeniable to me.

We call a dog a companion animal because they provide a balance or act as a companion to us.  I like to imagine they are heaven to my earth.


Who can resist puppies? Oh so cute! Cuddly! As a dog-savvy person, you’ve probably been successful at raising a pup. But, as they say, it takes a village.

When my friend Beth in Utah asked me if I had reading and other material that would help her choose and raise a young dog, I was all over it. Wow, do I have resources! I love my favorite, dog-eared pet behavior and training books–numbering over 200! Then there are the my favorite DVDs, blogs, articles, handbooks, and and and… But what to choose for this situation, without overwhelming a neophyte?

I have my ideas, but I’d love to hear yours, so I can give her the best information possible.

Here’s the deal: Beth and her husband have never had dogs before; only cats. They aren’t sure what kind of pup they should get for their lifestyle; they just knows they’d like a young, two-to-four month old that would grow to “medium-sized, one who loves being a laid-back companion, one who likes hiking, but doesn’t need too much fast-paced exercise stuff.” Beth’s husband works 12-hour shifts, often at night, while she herself works at home. And, she wants a rescue, especially since she lives right by Best Friends Animal Society. They’re open to positive, reward-based training.

If someone asked you to recommend your favorite resources for those parameters, what would they be? I’d love to hear what I need to add to my library, too!

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