My Good Dog

I can’t believe I have such a nice dog.

anka posing

The eyes pretty much say it all.

I never thought I’d like a dog of this breed, much less consider one my best canine companion.

I think I’m always going to have at least one Deutscher Schäferhund in my home. They are that much fun to train and play with, and they are so clownish and loyal. Plus, they are great watch dogs that can easily be trained not to bark excessively, and the best ones are not vicious.

She is stable and attuned my mood. She is sensitive and eager and quite brainy.

Which is a good thing, because she is built like a body-builder, with massive muscles in her hind quarters and forelegs.

I would not want a dog like her if it was a crazed lunatic that went around randomly attacking people. She could do a lot of damage, but she’s docile and domesticated.

I have, however, seen that demure clowny coyote suddenly become all business when she thought her job was to be the protector.

Anka is what I like in a dog. I’ve always been looking for that perfect balance of drive, good sense, and intelligence in a dog, but it’s harder and harder to find in golden retrievers. It still exists, but it is something one must seek out with a great deal of rigor.

And even then, you may be turned away.

Working German shepherds are really common, and because people often don’t know what they are getting when they purchase a puppy– “I want one of them straight-backed ones” is a common idea in the public mind– they often are in need of good homes. What most people don’t get is those straighter-backed Rin Tin Tin dogs have far more drive than most people are accustomed to having in a dog, and they would be be better suited to buy an actual show-bred dog.

Living with both forms of this breed has given me a deep appreciation for each type.  I can’t say that I am as fundamentalist against the show dogs as I once was. I had to change my mind, because I was wrong.

And yes, we can have all these debates about functional conformation in this breed. We can post that image that shows the horse with the extreme rear angulation. We can show photos of Hektor Linksrhein/Horand von Grafrath all we want.

But i have changed my mind about what breeds I do like to have. One of these days, I’ll probably up my game with a Malinois or a Dutch shepherd, which are like five or six clicks more driven than a working German shepherd,  but for right now, I enjoy what I do have.

A good dog.




Natural History

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How to Keep Your Dog Calm on Halloween #AdaptilDog

This post is sponsored by CEVA Animal Health, makers of ADAPTIL® for dogs. All statements and opinions are entirely our own. As always, we only share products that we use with our own pets! This…

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It was an ordinary Monday morning

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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The Salukis

One week ago today, Jenna and I went to Pittsburgh to pick up some puppies at the airport. We found ourselves at some desolate warehouse place, but yes, they had our delivery from Albuquerque.

They loaded the shipping box into our van. Zoom, the old whippet, raised his head to watch the proceedings, and out of that crate rose of cacophony of primitive puppy barks.

The barker was the brindle named Streamer but called “Baz” at his breeder’s home. He had gone through enough moves and jostles, and to be face to face with that short-eared dog was the last straw.

Jenna quickly got both pups out of the crate. Streamer glowered at me from the passenger seat, but the other puppy, the cream and white Mango, stared up at me with abject suspicious. “You’re not gonna eat me, are you?” his eyes seemed to ask.

And I drove them home. Mango decided that I was his safety, and he began to follow me from room to room. Streamer, a hot-blooded Arabian stallion of a pup, decided to snap at the old whippet on the sofa, and he received a muzzle snap for his impudence..

Thus began my journey with an even more different sort of dog.  I should add that these are not normal AKC salukis, but they are a cross between a tazi with ancestors from Kazakhstan and Middle Eastern or “desert bred salukis.” Their sire is Tavi, a dog that has been featured on the Qurencia blog many times. Their mother is brindle and white, and thus controversial to the saluki purists. Both live with Shiri Hoshen in New Mexico, and this is the first litter produced between the two parents.

Mango is not ours. He will be going through a vaccine and titer regime over the next few months before he will be send to live with a good friend of this blog in Australia.

But right now, Mango is just learning about this foreign land, where the grass is green and spongy, and the rain drops from the sky regularly and make the air cool and crisp.

He is learning about wolf-like dogs with prick ears and intense eyes, and drop-eared almost Saluki-like things that carry things in their mouths. He will need much socialization to be made ready for that long trip Down Under.

But he has the softest, brownest eyes I’ve ever seen on a dog. He will be a great dog. I just hope to do him justice.

Streamer will be staying here, and I hope will be reformed into a nice high status dog.

/And so I will learn a new breed once again.







Natural History

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Timeless Kids’ Halloween Costume Ideas

Classic Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids
Family Halloween Costume Ideas
Classic Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids

As of today it’s officially October (and my husband’s and my 7 year wedding anniversary; awww), and that means I’ve officially got Halloween costumes on the mind. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for old fashioned Halloween costume ideas for the little ones (and for adults, too). Famous characters and complicated costumes are awesome in their own right, but for me, there is just something about a simple, classic costume. I remember dressing up as Little Bo Peep in a pink gingham dress and bonnet my mom made, with a cane crafted my dad, carrying a sheep toy, and thinking at the time that it was the fanciest costumer ever. That same year my best friend wore a sheet over her head with a little ribbon tied around the neck as a ghost. And my sister wore a simple black fabric bat costume. And in my mind, that is Halloween. Those kinds of minimal, timeless costumes are so endearing to me.

Two years ago, Essley asked to be a pumpkin (as seen in the photos above). I found her this affordable but incredibly well made pumpkin costume, and just loved how sweet she looked wearing. Emmett actually asked to be a pumpkin this year, so unless he changes his mind (which in reality is pretty likely), he’ll wear it this Halloween. That same year Essley was a pumpkin, he wore a pair of simple skeleton pajamas (here’s a similar set for $ 15) and a black baby beanie. So cute. Essley’s costume last year was definitely fancier than the year before (note the very sparkly mermaid above), but a mermaid costume – even a glittery one – is still pretty timeless. And I just loved Emmett’s dinosaur costume last year. This year, Essley wants to be a butterfly – specifically “the queen of all the butterflies.” And I might just have to pick up this adorable shark costume for Emmett, just in case the whole pumpkin thing goes awry at the last minute.

All of this said, if my kids ask to be a character or buy a cheap store bought costume, I am of course all about that too. Halloween should be their holiday, and whatever makes them the happiest is what I want in terms of costumes. For now though, I’m going to appreciate the simpler, more traditional costumes they’re choosing while it lasts.

If you’re like me and love a classic costume, here is a list of ideas I put together last year, with a bunch of new ideas added for this year.

  • Pumpkin
  • Ghost
  • Witch
  • Bat
  • Skeleton
  • Monster
  • Black Cat
  • Scarecrow
  • Angel
  • Devil
  • Mummy
  • Simple Princess or Prince
  • Simple Superhero
  • Ballet Dancer
  • Ladybug or Bee
  • Mermaid
  • Butterfly
  • Pirate
  • Fairy
  • Vampire
  • Frankenstein 
  • Mime
  • Clown
  • Lion
  • Bear
  • Monkey
  • Shark
  • Dog
  • Mouse
  • Dinosaur
  • Dragon

If you have any other classic costume ideas, I’d love to hear them! What costumes are your little ones (or you!) wearing this Halloween?


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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4 Delicious Autumn Soups

4 Delicious Autumn Soups

We spent the weekend in northern Michigan where it was quite chilly and really felt like fall. I have been craving soup since we got back and plan on making a pot tonight, so I thought I’d share four of my all-time favorite soup recipes with you. Just click on any of the images or links below them for my full recipes.

4 Delicious Autumn Soups

4 Delicious Autumn Soups
4 Delicious Autumn Soups

I love all of these, but my very favorite fall soup is veggie chili. I’ll share my recipe for that soon!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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River Wolves

Quest and Anka swimming in the Ohio River on Sunday.

anka and quest in the ohio river

river monster anka

anka river dog

river dog anka

water wolves 1

water wolves





Natural History

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Joy, Gratitude, and Pumpkins

I posted the top photo above to Instagram yesterday and decided I wanted to share it here too. It takes a lot for me to let go of summer, but when I see my kids’ reactions to pumpkins, it’s nearly impossible to not feel a tiny bit smitten by fall. It’s also a great reminder to take a cue from my little ones and allow myself to feel pure joy over simple things. If they can feel such a thrill from an orange squash and what it represents, then I can too. We went apple picking last weekend and the excitement they felt was, cliche or otherwise, contagious. I feel such gratitude to be able to learn from them every single day. They are truly the best teachers I’ve ever had.

The photos above are all from the last two years, but I see a 2018 pumpkin farm visit in our near future.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Anka got her rabies vaccine and microchip today

She didn’t even flinch, but she kept her eyes on me while they did it. She also knows her sit and down commands.

This dog has nerves of steel.

anka at the vet


Natural History

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Are Grackles Dangerous to Your Dog?

Today we have a guest post from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences about a topic that’s familiar to just about everyone who’s ever parked in a…

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