Bark for Peace!
musings & ramblings, mostly about dogs, from a three being, three species family

Bark for Peace!

Thorndale, Texas

March 23rd, 2009 . by lisa knaggs

I’ve only been there twice.  And even if you’re an Austin native, like me- it’s highly likely you’ve never heard of Thorndale, the sleepy little town that time has pretty much passed by.  If you saw the 2002 film “The Rookie” starring Dennis Quaid, you saw a bit of Thorndale.  As an aside: “The Rookie” is based on a true Texas baseball story and both Quaid and director John Lee Hancock are native Texans. Thorndale is on HWy 79, past Taylor and before Rockdale, about an hour from Austin.  There’s one signal and three gas stations on the highway stop.

Steve's Bar- yes, it's a real bar- open for business (and a pretty cool hang, I hear)

Steve's Place- just over the RR tracks, 1/2 block off Main Street Yes, it's a real bar (and a pretty cool hang, I hear)

My first visit was in 2005, to the pound, to meet “a high-dollar blue heeler,” aka Clementine. Although she did not deliver as advertised on the blue-blood status, she delivered more than promised in fun, laughter, frivolity, mischief, and learning.  She’s a great dog who has once again done what the dogs who find me do- rocked my world!

A dog in her natural habitat, guarding the farmhouse (and posing for a picture!  she always seems to offfer a profile or 3/4 angle!)

A dog in her natural habitat, guarding the farmhouse (and posing for a picture! she always seems to offer a profile or 3/4 angle!)

Anyway, last week we spent 5 days in a friend’s charming 100 year old Victorian Farmhouse.  (which is going on the market shortly, if you’re interested) It has been lovingly restored and was a wonderful, healing, restorative get-away from the hustle and bustle of city-life.  Windows open, fresh-air, birds singing, deck out back with rolling hill views…aaahhhhhhh…..  They don’t call it “vacation” for nothing!

100 year old restored Victorian farmhouse (dog not included)

100 year old restored Victorian farmhouse (dog not included)

Raggamuffin red terrier, “Murphy”, became the object of Clementine’s affection (unrequited, sadly) and my unsolicited bed warmer (appreciated on the cooler nights).

while on an afternoon walk... Initial Reaction (argh...)

while on an afternoon walk... Initial Reaction (argh...)

A More Appropriate Greeting

At last, civility.

And poor kitties Paddy and Tigger earned their food and shelter the good ‘ol fashioned way- around the farm, since Little Miss Mischief decided that our tour of duty meant a “No Cats Allowed” claim on the farmhouse.  Funny how they came back around as I was packing up the Forester- I’m sure they were delighted to see us go.  Murphy pouted, and we felt the pangs of withdrawl as well.

Guinea Hens

Why did the Guinea Hens cross the road?

Same reason the Rooster did, the dogs were coming!

Same reason the Rooster did, the dogs were coming!

Herbal Heaven

March 11th, 2009 . by blogadmin

Today was the final day of a most wonderful 8 week class- “Herbs for the Chakras!”   My mind is swimming with loads of information- busily cross referencing new native herbs I’ve learned about as well as old favorites from Chinese, Native American, and Ayurvedic traditions.  Herbalist Ginger Webb’s focus is on local plants- which makes so much sense to me practically and in terms of sustainability.  We had a fun small group of wise women who laughed, shared, and drank a LOT of herbal infusions – talk about a bonding experience!

If you’re in need of delicious herbal teas, herbal tinctures made with organic herbs and organic alcohol, or interested in learning more about the wonderful healing properties of happy herbs, I highly recommend Ginger! (btw, I consider this is no way a commerical, since Ginger is a very good friend~ I’m just braggin’ on her!)  There’s also an article about her in the current issue of Edible Austin magazine! Go Ginger!! woof!woof!

Best Herbalist in Austin!

Best Herbalist in Austin!

http://texasmedicinals.com/

Banjo is a Lucky Mutt

February 1st, 2009 . by blogadmin

Well, it’s official~ Banjo is now a Lucky Mutt!

What does this mean?  Mostly that he’s now a very high profile dude!

Banjo Boy in Bandana

Banjo Boy in Bandana

I’m hoping that it harkens the day when we’ll be (sadly, but happily) passing him off to his forever family.  Clementine and I are really gonna miss him!

If you know of anyone with a big heart who wants a kind, fun, funny, happy, and faithful canine companion- please tell them about this very special boy. And look at this form- wow, what a jumper!

Jumping is just one of his many talents!

Jumping is just one of his many talents!

There was a dog with lots of spots and Banjo was his name-o, B-A-N-J-O, B-A-N-J-O, B-A-N-J-O, and Banjo was his name-o!

You’ll never bark alone

December 8th, 2008 . by lisa knaggs

Usually when I hear a honk, I panic a bit thinking either “oh, no the light must have turned green and I was daydreaming again,” or “great, what’s on top of my car that just fell off?”  But this weekend I was pleasantly surprised that not once, but twice, when I heard honking I turned to be greeted with “woof!woof!woof!woof!woof!”  Of course, I broke out into laughter both times! What luck that Clementine was with me on Friday, and Banjo on Saturday, so they both got to join in the silliness!

Clementine Kissing for Peace!

Clementine Kissing for Peace!

Just barkin' for peace with Elissa

Just barkin' for peace with Elissa

Cheerleaders bark for peace with me and Banjo

Cheerleaders bark for peace with me and Banjo

These gorgeous young women were up from Sugarland, Texas (which is near Houston) for a cheerleading competition where their squads won 1st and 2nd places.  They were such smart, engaging, and energetic young women with thoughtful questions about health, food, Bark for Peace!, vegetarianism, and Banjo.  We shared jerky chews, stories, and hope!

Of course I’m wondering, like pretty much everyone else is, how to navigate these troubling times.  What shape will Bark for Peace! take as it continues to be birthed?  How will we manage to survive, and hopefully thrive, in a difficult economic climate for established businesses, much less for fledgling ones?  But thanks to some very vocal young women, with a lot of moxy, I was delightfully reminded that no matter what the future holds, we’ll never bark alone!   Thanks gals, you sure cheered me up!

Turkey (no) Creek Trail

December 5th, 2008 . by blogadmin

Friday was cold, for Austin anyway- I think the high was in the 40’s and we absolutely loved it! After Clementine and I ran around town to the kitchen, FedEx, CAF drop off, etc., our reward was hiking!  Since we hadn’t been out to Turkey Creek in awhile (it’s a bit of a drive and the road is pretty windy and kinda scary with traffic) I decided we’d head out.  This trail has special sentimental significance since FORD and I also hiked it years ago, and we just marked the first anniversary of her death.

Perfect for a heeler- there's a job to do!  Gingersnap would be great at this since she loves to carry rocks

Perfect for a heeler- there's a job to do! Gingersnap would be great at this since she loves to carry rocks

Austin has received roughly half the annual average rainfall in 2008- we’ve only had 15″.  Verysupercool Sue said she thinks Turkey Creek is always MIA in winter, I can’t remember.  I just know it made me sad.  I wanted to splash and I know Clementine wanted to swim!

Turkey (no) Creek

Turkey (no) Creek

C'mon, C'mon I wanna go get it!

C'mon, C'mon I wanna go get it!

Where's Clementine?

Where's Clementine?

I had not noticed before, maybe it’s because last Fall was spent traveling back and forth to the Texas State Fair and there wasn’t much hiking going on, that Clementine blends into the Fall backdrop rather seamlessly.  I need to remember to clip her bear bell on, just in case I lose her!

with her spots and autumal coloring, she does camoflage quite naturally

with her spots and autumal coloring, she does camoflage quite naturally

Last year this mixed use trail was in danger of being made off-limits to both people and well behaved dogs.  Bark for Peace! donated treats to the Friends of Turkey Creek and Therese at Petsit USA helped us get the word out.  Thankfully the Austin City Council agreed that responsible people and their dogs could share the trail with the warblers.  We’re so grateful!

Colors of Turkey Creek

Colors of Turkey Creek

Changing Leaves Reflect Changing Times

Changing Leaves Reflect Changing Times

It’s New to Me!

December 4th, 2008 . by lisa knaggs
TUG

TUG

One of the things I think I enjoy about changing seasons is the fact that it’s like getting a whole new wardrobe when you dig out the clothes for that time of year.  “Surprise, I completely forgot about that shirt- I LOVE that shirt!”  And the warm memories that fill you when snuggle up to your favorite wool sweater of 13 years- it’s better than getting something new, because it’s already full of irreplaceable stories and memories, like reconnecting with an old friend.  And it’s kinda fun to forget about things for awhile and then rediscover them with renewed wonder and appreciation.

CHASE

CHASE

Today Banjo and Clementine got a “new to them” toy.  Our former neighbor (& still friend!) Erika brought some gently used toys to share at a meeting for the Cherrywood Art Fair (Dec 13-14, if you’re in Austin, you don’t want to miss it!:)  Her dogs didn’t really fancy them, so she washed and dried them and brought them to share with the group and BOY was this soft rope toy a score!!!

FASTER

FASTER!

I’d like to think that they knew it was a special toy from a good friend, but that’s just me liking to think that.  I do suspect they appreciated that it was gently used which means it was soft in their mouths and perfectly broken-in, like the flannel PJ bottoms I pick-up at the Goodwill Blue Hanger for $1.25.  They feel so much better than new ones, because they’re already worn in just right.

SHARING?

SHARING?

What a wonderful reminder that we can give great gifts without spending a dime! Thanks, Erika!

I’m glad everyone’s buying less this holiday season.  It feels so much more sane.  That’s not what a business owner’s supposed to say, but I don’t consider myself an owner anyway, more of a midwife as we go about the birthing of Bark for Peace! We have so much of what we need already, especially if we remember to share, so buying fewer things is just smarter.

Our trainers tell us that we shouldn’t just leave the toys out with the dogs all the time anyway- that’s BORING.  But engaging with a toy, especially one that hasn’t been out in awhile, or used to live down the street with the neighbor’s dogs, might be just what makes their little heart’s sing!  Sure did the trick around here- and believe me, they have lots of toy experience, they test and vet them all!

Next week I’ll post a “how to” on making a great dog toy to toss and tug with old sweaters or blankets. That’s a fun & easy thing to make with a friend on a cold night! Peace and Hope, woof!woof!

Happy Banjo with "it's new to me" toy!

Happy Banjo with "it's new to me" toy!

Gingersnap Snags a (Super Terrific!) Home

November 22nd, 2008 . by lisa knaggs
The drive north from Austin took us over an hour, in part because I overshot the turnoff onto the County Road.  Clementine was moaning with stimulation over the sights and sounds of ranch living as the temperature dropped and the buildings became fewer and farther between.  When we drove onto the ranch, my first thought was, “it’s a little bit of heaven- how lovely!”
she's in the lower left corner, if you squint!

she's in the lower left corner, if you squint!

Immediately I adored Thelma- I can’t imagine anyone not feeling safe around this grounded, nurturing, wise woman who loves the land, trees, critters and the old house she rescued from demolition and is delicately restoring.  Clearly, Gingersnap loves her and looks to her for leadership and direction.

Gingersnap watches Thelma like a hawk- awesome!

Gingersnap watches Thelma like a hawk- awesome!

This lucky girl has over 300 acres to share with her people, horses, cattle, and a dear rescue Shiloh Shepherd named Bear.  They love to run and play and grin!  Gingersnap actually gets to check cows on two ranches, and go with Keith (Thelma’s husband) to sserve as Chief of Quality Control at his small animal veterinary practice.  The staff adores her- how perfect is that?

When I arrived the little pumpkin colored Miss Sassy Pants was busy playing toss and fetch with herself as she selected prime rocks from the piles Keith and his hired hand were dutifully gathering and clearing. Her assistance and antics were obviously welcomed!  Gingersnap acts like she adores Keith as much as Thelma!  And he’s crazy about her too… my cup runneth over!

What's Next Guys?  I'm here to help!

What's Next Guys? I'm here to help!

Working Girl

Working Girl

Eventually someone threw her a stick and she struck a pose for the camera!

Posing for the Camera with a stick

Posing for the Camera with a stick

While touring the ranch, I must admit I wondered if Thelma and Keith would consider adopting me! (too bad Clementine and Gingersnap act like they have to be at odds with each other- they got into a scrap which was totally my fault for not keeping them separate.  I suspect that’s some old baggage and some resource scarcity/insecurity)  The ranch has a calm and open feel and the care the family puts into tending the land and the creatures that share it with them is palpable.  There’s not a doubt in my mind- Gingersnap knows she’s loved! (and she has jobs to do and boundaries!)

Inside the home, this gorgeous mobile made of found objects caught my eye.  Thelma told me the story of her artist friend who paints on canvas finding all these bits and pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Donna was determined to work with these pieces until she could find something beautiful in and from them.  Her determination worked- the piece reflects light and exemplifies redemption.

A Room with a View, and art work from the Aftermath of Katrina

A Room with a View, and art work from the Aftermath of Katrina

So, it’s official- hearts and homes have been opened and shared and family has expanded once again!  When I got ready to go, I rubbed Gingersnap’s ears and forehead (her coat feels so healthy and soft) and reminded her to love her family well, and that I was sure they had a lot to learn together- that’s why they found each other!

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped nurture Gingersnap through her transition- especially Paula @ Dogboys who had a kennel waiting for me when I drove into Austin with her Labor Day weekend and offered wise counsel and training tips; Sophia & the girls- aka “Foster Camp” who kept her exercised mentally as well as physically, and loved her with all their hearts; Sarah-aka “Emergency Weekend Foster”, the wonderful folks at Lucky Mutts who helped us get the word out, and of course our dear neighbor in our former ‘hood, Auntie Deb.  We did this together! Bark for Peace! woof!woof!

A funny little expression

A funny little expression

end note: Clementine and I headed back down the County Road and as soon as I pulled onto Hwy 183 a TX State Trooper pulled me over- my right front headlight’s burned out. (ugh)

MUTTS Unite! (& let’s get one in the White House)

November 15th, 2008 . by lisa knaggs

Ya goota love that Obama admitted what we all know is true & we all share in this wacky life- we’re MUTTS!  You’ve probably seen the Facebook petition and others out there advocating for the Obamas to bring a shelter dog into the first house- join us and sign on!

Hail to the Mutts

Hail to the Mutts

Click here to sign the petition- yes we can!  http://www.presidential-pooch-pardon.com/

Oh, yeah, and HOORAY for Hybrid Vigor! woof!woof!

As usual, the dogs have got it right!

November 11th, 2008 . by blogadmin
Dog Theology

Dog Theology

HOORAY for HOPE!

November 5th, 2008 . by lisa knaggs

The images of so many diverse peoples celebrating the world over brought me to tears! What a glorious sight!

Bill Moyers did his usual lucid, wise, provocative work analysis on Fresh Air today with Terry Gross.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96648963

I expect our work is just beginning, but today I shall delight in singing- Hooray for Hope!

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