From the good folks at Yappy. (In case you’re wondering, my resolution is to cook at home more often this year. I make homemade food for the dog, but more often than not, I feed my kids via DoorDash. That’s going to change this year.) Until next time, Good day, and good dog!
This post is sponsored by Innovet Pet Products. As always, we only share products that use in our own home with our pets. We all know that travel can be stressful. Whether it’s traffic on your…
[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]
- 1 German shepherd that likes other dogs.
- 1 whippet that likes other dogs and is friends with German shepherd.
- Throw ball for both dogs.
- Whippet will beat the German shepherd to the ball.
- Whippet will decide to run a victory lap, and the German shepherd will chase him.
- No German shepherd alive can catch a whippet, so they will run a whole lot more than if you just threw the ball for the German shepherd.
- Repeat once the whippet gets done with the ball and delivers it to hand.
As long-time readers of this blog know, I am concerned about the future of hunting, especially because already-established hunters have hitched their wagons to an increasingly narrower and narrower spectrum of America politics. I have implored people involved in mass communications, be it film, television, or the written word, to find ways to reach beyond this narrow base. Indeed, had I not grown up in rural America where hunting and fishing were celebrated ways of life, I probably would be among the most noxious antis, just because my own politics simply don’t align with those of most hunters now.
However, there is at least one hunting communicator who does a great job reaching beyond this narrow base. Steven Rinella is an outdoor writer and science journalist extraordinaire, and what’s more, his art is reaching people who are not conservative in the true wonders that are hunting and fishing and preparation of wild meat. Rinella’s written word, such as can be found in what I consider his classic work, American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, is a mixture of William Faulkner, Aldo Leopold, and certain Midwestern rusticity that I cannot fully place. and is this writing stye that he applies to narration and story-line of MeatEater.
In 16 new episodes, which you can watch on Netflix, Rinella takes us from Interior Alaska to the Rewa River in Guyana. Lots of things are learned in each episode, from Latvian hunting incantations to the finer art of hand-lining for black piranha, but the most important thing we learn is that hunting is not evil. Not a deer falls in the Nevada desert, when Rinella and Joe Rogan go bow-hunting for mulie bucks, and most of the two-part episode of hunting Sitka black-tails on Prince of Wales Island involves seeing no deer at all. Most of those two episodes involve foraging shrimp, rockfish, and red sea cucumbers from the oceans and simple friendship in magnificent land.
Rinella loves animals. He revels in their biology and habits. To him, hunting is an intellectual exercise in which he matches his skills against their instincts and far keener senses. Animals die, but the carcass is butchered. The meat and organs go not to some banal rough fare, but instead, they wind up being prepared in fine dishes, many of which are cooked right over a campfire.
There are many moving scenes in this new season. When Papa Janis Putelis kills a moose that appeared to have “manifested” itself before his gun as a result of his Latvian “magic,” we learn about his general philosophy of life, which is to enjoy every footstep and savor every breath. We marvel at petroglyphs left by ancient hunter-gatherers in Guyana, ones that even the natives who take Rinella to see the artifacts just call the “ancient ones.” Though these Amerindians who guide Rinella seem almost Stone Age to us, they are inheritors of this world, and their world is ultimately changing as new technologies and foreign capital begin to work their way deeper into their part of the jungle.
However, perhaps the most moving scene in all of this season comes when Doug Duren, a Wisconsin farmer and conservationist, bags a bull caribou out of the Fortymile herd. Duren shoots the bull with pinpoint accuracy, but when he approaches the fallen beast, his emotions are flying. He revels in the excitement of having killed, but there is a look of admiration for the bull on his face that is difficult to describe. He strokes its chocolate and cream-colored fur so tenderly it is as if he’s petting a beloved dog that was just euthanized. There is reverence for this beast as the living being it was. This scene is something I’ve never before seen on a hunting show. Most of these shows have the hunters celebrating and high-fiving as if they have won the Super Bowl.
This reverence for the animals and their habitat mixes so nicely with the realization that ever episode that winds up with an animal’s death ends with that animal being prepared into a fine piece of table fare. Rinella’s narration is mesmerizing and deep, for it is his skill as a writer that really shine. The cinematography is gorgeous, but Rinella’s words pull and prod the images along, striking your aesthetic senses at their very core.
This is the art of MeatEater, and why Rinella is such a fine spokesperson for hunting in this century. He is not trying to feed the prejudices of the already extant hunting show aficionados. Instead, he reaches people at their deepest romantic and aesthetic senses, the part that makes us love animals and nature so much that one could just as easily become an anti-hunter. Indeed, because so few publicly visible hunters try to communicate on this level, these senses remain untapped and untapped at our peril.
I loved this season so much that I was almost in tears when it finally ended. Rinella is truly at master at his craft as a writer and communicator, even more so than he is a master at the art of hunting.
But he is truly a master at both.
From the makers of the iFetch comes the iDig interactive toy for your dog. Two models are available, one to stay at home, and one to fold up and take with you when you travel. The idea is this: you load the dog’s favorite toys or treats into the idig, then close the flaps over […]
It all makes sense, except for those barking retrievers and that fawn whippet that was Robert Hardy’s own beloved dog.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook know that we just got back from a glorious (and I mean glorious) trip to Mexico. For the past 12 years, the band my husband Stage Manages for a living has co-headlined a festival called Holidaze that has now been held in Jamaica, Mexico (Tulum and Puerto Morelos), and the Dominican Republic. This year, they returned to Puerto Morelos and it was genuinely blissful for us to get to spend 5 days in the sunshine with so many of our closest friends.
Last year, Essley started throwing up 4 hours before we were to leave for the airport, so the kids and I had to stay home, which was admittedly devastating for all of us. But I think it made us appreciate this year more. (Side note: Essley coughed so hard she vomited the night before we left again this year, and Emmett picked up a cold down there that caused him to cough so hard he vomited on the flight back. I couldn’t make this stuff up.)
Instead of going on and on about the details of the trip (and really, aside from fun in the sun with friends of all ages and lots of music, there aren’t a lot of details), I thought I’d just share some of my favorite photos from the trip, as seen above. These aren’t high quality photos by any means – they were all snapped with my phone. But they certainly do show you how much we fun we had.
Are any of you traveling soon? Who else has been to Puerto Morelos?
Happy winter Solstice! Merry almost Christmas! I almost can’t believe I’m typing that. Is Christmas really only four days away? I know it’s super cliche to talk about how quickly time passes but truly, this season has gone by in a blink. It’s been the busiest season of work for me ever (so grateful for this!), we just returned from our trip to Mexico for Robbie’s work Sunday night, we had two school holiday parties yesterday, Essley’s winter dance recital is tonight and her birthday party is Sunday, then family arrives to stay with us, and the following day is Christmas Eve! This is the first year both of my kids are old enough to really get Christmas, and the excitement level is through the roof! The day after Christmas, Robbie leaves town for work, I join him on the 30th in Atlanta, and we fly back together on January 1st (my birthday), which is quickly followed by Emmett’s birthday, then a long (boooo!) winter tour for him with the band.
Honestly, I love being busy, and get sad when things slow down. But I also want to take a breath and enjoy the last few days of the season before it’s gone. So I will be taking my annual break from the blog to spend time with my family and catch up on non-work things, starting today. I’ll likely still be somewhat active on Instagram, but we won’t be back with any new posts here on the blog until after the New Year.
However you celebrate (or don’t celebrate!), I wish you the happiest of holidays and a New Year full of joy, love, and peace.
Embracing a plant-based lifestyle may start with what’s on your plate, but whether you’re vegan for health, humane, or environmental reasons, for lots of people it’s not just a diet, but a way of life. Being vegan can affect nearly every purchasing decision, so it’s only natural to think about how it affects pets’ diets.
So, what do vegans and vegetarians feed their cats and dogs?
Due to the distinct differences in their physiology, we have to look at dogs and cats separately. Dogs are omnivores. Thanks in part to living with us for thousands of years (and enjoying food that “falls” off our plates), dogs’ digestive systems have evolved to support a more starch-rich diet. Dogs have a dietary requirement for specific nutrients. Those nutrients can come from meat or they can come from plant-based sources. So, many people who choose not to eat meat choose to feed their dog vegan dog food, like Halo’s Garden of Vegan.
What about vegan cat food?
Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning there are nutrients cats need that they cannot get from a vegetarian diet. So, from a health standpoint, real, whole meat cat food delivers the nutrients they need. But what about pet parents who are concerned about the treatment of our life-giving animals and the environmental impact of pet food? In the U.S., dogs’ and cats’ diets are responsible for “25-30% of animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides,” according to a 2017 study.
That’s why Halo commits to ethical and sustainable agricultural practices. Our promise of OrigiNative® sourcing means we work with farmers who treat animals with respect and help maintain a regenerative ecosystem by using original animal husbandry and farming practices and rearing animals in their native environments. To ensure the OrigiNative® philosophy is followed, Halo’s meat proteins are GAP (Global Animal Partnership®) certified humane, and our fish is MSC (Marine Stewardship Council®) certified sustainably caught. Plus, all of the fruits and vegetables Halo uses are non-GMO.
Vegans, vegetarians, and other animal lovers and advocates who want pet food they can feel good about can find great choices with Halo. Through our mission to change the way companion animals are fed and farm animals are raised…for the better, we offer canned vegan dog food, dry vegan dog food, and vegan dog treats, as well as dog food and cat food made with third-party certified humane and sustainable proteins.
Living with a cat has so many benefits. Of course we enjoy the company of these always-adorable, sometimes-cuddly, often-independent creatures. And of course, living with a cat has its challenges, too, challenges that require cat owners to have a certain type of strength.
The extent of cats’ curiosity, spontaneity, dominance, and skittishness can keep us pretty busy. It also takes some serious devotion and patience to live with a family member who is bent on terrorizing rolls of toilet paper, swatting objects off shelves, dueling with dogs, and, this time of year, eviscerating Christmas trees.
There’s also research that shows self-identified cat people tend to be pretty open, which researchers tie to intellectual curiosity and artistic creativity. And if you’ve had to outsmart a cat at Christmas-time, you know what we’re talking about.
But no matter how ornery our cats are, they still purr themselves back into our hearts when they’re done. And like the good pet parents we are, we’re there to love and treat them.