Though I would never say that they're any better or worse than other dogs, White German Shepherds, as a whole, have stolen my heart. After house sitting for a family that had two, Dixie and Bill, I fell in love with the breed. Bill's lopsided grin and Dixie's love of snuggling won me over to this energetic breed that passionately loves, protects, and plays.
The point is, White German Shepherds steal your heart. I've had pets my entire life, and I've never been as close to one as I am to Arie. I swear she understands what I say, even when it's not a command or a request. When I'm down she lays beside me and rest her chin on my knee. When I'm up and energetic she brings her ball to me to play, as if she knows I've got the energy for a long game of fetch. The dog gets me, and that's just the way it is. I'm not alone in my love, either.
In our September post, I wrote about White Shepherds (or American Shepherds, or Berger Blanc Suisse, whatever your preference) in the media, and mentioned the starlets and movies that loved them like I do. One person I didn't mention on the list was Tom Hanks; I didn't know that he had a White Shepherd. Today on Twitter, however, I found out that he did, just in time to read about his goodbye:
"Monty. Deep brown eyes, noble demeanor, finest dog ever. A sad day. Goodbye Big Boy. Hanx " Tom Hanks' Tweet, January 19
Hanks also posted a photo of Monty on his Play Tone.
Stereotypes are never fun, especially not on the internet. One group that has been regularly attacked by such stereotypes is the mommy blogger faction: Women who blog on these typically child-rearing, DIY, home life centered blogs are often deemed as greedy, uneducated, and bitchy, but this stereotype is often a misconception. As a pet blogger, I can relate to the plight of the mommy blogger, as our group sees it's own stereotypes. I also know and love many mommy bloggers (and even got to write a guest post for one of them), and even cite The Bloggess, one of the O.G. mom bloggers, as one of my personal favorites to read.
On another note, on Life with Arie, I try to focus on positive and uplifting topics for the pet parents around me and those interested in animal welfare. This is usually a place for smiles and jokes and fun.
That being said, I just had the displeasure of discovering a fun little group of women who fit that stereotype perfectly, and who gave me a full afternoon of entertainment over their own ignorance and petty behavior. Today I'm afraid we have to discuss poor blog practices through the example of this blogger and her unfortunate audience.
The Back Story?
Today is the big SOPA/PIPA protest. If you don't know about it, you should, as it would probably kill this blog and countless others on the web while harming free speech and the freedom of information. This has been a running topic at work as it could change the very fabric of social discourse and behavior, let alone our jobs completely. While chatting about the protest, one colleague sent me a link to a "Some E Cards" creation on Facebook, while marveling at the seemingly unknowing commentary under it. Here's the card:
Under the photo, people were commenting about how having the internet strike was going to keep them more productive today. While I get the jokes, SOPA and PIPA are not something to joke about, especially if there's a chance you aren't informed, so I decided to comment.
Little did I know that my comment would inspire a riot of mommy blogger wrath. I'm going to have to do this in several screen shots, so bear with me:
So, we're not entirely in dangerous territory....yet.
And the badgering of the angry mommies continues...and gets personal.
Here's where the bad blogger behavior REALLY comes into play:
I'm not usually one to bring a personal issue onto my blog, but for me, this goes beyond personal into good blogger business. When you blog to attract regular readers and even to become a business, it's important to be loyal to your readers. You do this through:
The Underachiever's Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess managed to violate both of these principles in a day. Here's how:
On her feed, the blogger says that she will devote herself to a day of silence for SOPA. "Shutting down for the day..make it a great one! ♥ DG", but after that posts the card that sparked the insults and on her blog discussed pedicures. That's a lot of silence.
In the description of the Facebook page that is a companion to her blog, the writer says this:
" If there is one thing I know, it is that people want to matter. They want to be seen, heard, acknowledged and appreciated. On this page, you will matter...your opinions, your stories, anything you want to share will matter..and I will appreciate you. Let's go have a laugh then, yes? (I must add the footnote - trolls and insulting posts will be poofed - and the user will disappear...this is my page so someone's gotta be the sheriff"
The author herself created the some e card that stemmed the comment chain, and the subject matter of the card was the SOPA/PIPA protest. I voiced my opinion about the subject , card, and comments...and I'm pretty sure she didn't appreciate them. The author also promises that "trolls and insulting posts will be poofed" -- If she found my comment insulting, she could have easily sent me a message with warning. She also did not remove the insulting posts from her readers when they decided to jump on the angry mommy blogger band wagon.
Throughout the conversation under the photo, the blogger managed to poo-poo my comments which were for the most part trying to be informational, and completely ignore the insults hurled by her regular commenters. As a new reader to her blog and page, I was excited to see what she had to say. This is the first post I found a problem with, and as soon as I voiced an opinion, I was discarded like yesterday's trash. To me, this tell me that the writer does not prize new commenters or new interactions; the same old nags will suffice.
All in all, I'm sure that the blogger is a nice person, and I'm sure she means well. This is not meant to talk about what a heinous person she is (though I have to admit I'm a little worried at the fact that some of the comments were written by people with children. Oh next generation, please be different!) Still, When a blogger showcases such a bad behavior, I'm afraid I can't keep my mouth shut.
So friends, what do you think? Was my comment that inflammatory? Am I over reacting about the blogger's behavior? I'd really love to get your opinions.
***Please see an update to this post here: http://lifewitharie.com/2012/03/08/middle-aged-internet-troll-and-cyber-bully/ Thank you.
...You're still here?
Thanks for sticking it out, faithful friends and readers. As many of you know, this year has been momentous for us at Life With Arie. We just started our blog this fall, and life has done nothing but go into warped speed since. Our break in posts has been due to a move, which, with two dogs, two cats, and two people, you can bet is no small feat, as well as all of the holidays and fun. To help you forgive me for my absence, check out this adorable picture of my parent's dachshund...in a santa hat and sweater. Before you get pissy, we only put it on him long enough for the photo:
Since the move, we've been working through a few struggles: 1) Fighting through technically difficulties with our wireless, 2) A persistent cold that just won't quit, 3) Major movements in my work (good things, but time consuming), and 4) Packing/Moving/Unpacking. All of these challenges are manageable and several are very positive things, but they are a time suck that keeps us away from you!
Our break from blogging will end this weekend, when you'll get the 411 (who just had a middle school or high school flashback? You know you did) on our move, fun photos of everyone's favorite White German Shepherd (you know she is, don't deny it) during the move, and some details on what's coming up for us and Atlanta pet lovers everywhere.
While you wait... you can still read a little Life with Arie! Our good friend Sara and her husband just welcomed a gorgeous baby girl into their lives. Sara is a regular blogger on her site, "Life in these times," and has been blogging non-stop about soon to be mommy goodness. To give her a break now that her little one is here, Sara enlisted the pens, er, fingers, of her blogging buddies to write guest posts so that she and her husband Z would have a little time to welcome in their bundle. I wrote a guest post on bringing Arie home and how adopting a pet is a step similar to mommyhood (kind of). Be sure to read it here!
I'm all about large breed dogs--Hence my 95 lb beast of a German Shepherd. Yet, I volunteer at Atlanta Pet Rescue, which primarily rescues small breeds and cats. So why, one might ask, would I want to volunteer with them? Atlanta Pet Rescue has been a wonderful place to volunteer--The animals are healthy, happy, and well loved. They don't seem despondent or depressed when you visit them in their spaces. They get positive training to help them with any bad habits. Pet parents follow up with the rescue after adopting because they have such wonderful experiences there.
Getting on to my point, I love this shelter, and I do all that I can to help them through volunteering, and, whenever possible donations. Our friend, Two Little Cavaliers, is hosting a giveaway now that will help bloggers earn a little moolah of their own while also earning money that goes straight to their favorite pet charity, in my case, Atlanta Pet Rescue. Here's the giveaway, which you can also view on Two Little Cavaliers:
Has it really been 12 days? (Hangs head in shame). My absence requires a little bit of explanation (and a lot of your forgiveness).
We're getting ready to move.
Before you heave out a deep sigh of anguish of thinking you'll have to visit Life With Arie at a new URL (again), don't panic. This is not an online move. This is a real, physical, box up everything and pray it doesn't snow move. Arie, the cats and I have a new apartment that we'll be settling into the first week in January (I repeat...pray it doesn't snow!), and we're starting to get ready. The cats think that they're helpful....we don't quite agree.
Even as summer clothing, unnecessary bath and kitchen items, and decorative elements find their way into boxes with labels and head for the garage, I'm pulling other items out of boxes. Why? It's Christmas time. Christmas is my number one favorite holiday, and I love to decorate and have a festive home. I won't go a year without a Christmas tree or some form of acknowledgement, so the tree will just have to be repacked before the big move. The goal is to have everything in boxes and downstairs besides the bare minimum (sofa folded down into bed, changes of clothes, and basic toiletries)...and the Christmas tree...by the 24th. We'll see if that happens. Now. It's time to share in the awesomeness that is our Christmas tree.
This little faux Christmas tree is one I've had for years. Yes, fake trees aren't the greenest option, and yes, they are made with terrible chemicals. At this point though, I've had the tree for a while. Disposing of it is even worse for the environment, and I fear the dangers of having a real tree around the animals. So for now, this sparse, Charlie Brown fake friend is sticking it out. Still...Charles...as I have named my tree...looks pretty nice when he's completely decked out.
I love fun and kitschy ornaments, so we have a fun mix of ornaments from my childhood, various baubles, handmade ornaments from the people friendly Ten Thousand Villages (great source for decor and more year round, with a good heart) and fun knit letters from Target. That last item ended up in an "M" for Moore, since they didn't have a K for me, a "B" for Briseis (no J for Jasper, I'm afraid), and Arie's first ornament on the tree:
The "A" may not be a pretty white like Arie's White German Shepherd coat, but the fun green and red fit her sparkling personality. Before you panic again, the baubles on the tree are plastic. My cats can be a little bit like Simon's Cat in their pursuit of the tree, so we go as non-breakable as possible.
If you're not acquainted with Simon's Cat, well, you need to be:
So, after much rambling, Arie and I have been away from the keyboard (except for work) to pack and get ready for the holidays. We'll have another trip to see my family in South Carolina next week, so expect a fun post about that. In addition, be on the look out for our coverage of the Grand Opening of the Atlanta Humane Society's Mansell Campus, our delicious visit to Lucky's in Alpharetta, and a fun pet-friendly day for the Reindog Parade at Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
Have you decorated for Christmas yet with your pet? Share your photos, holiday horror stories, and more us on our Facebook page. It needs your love.
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This is just a temporary post, but it's one to lay a few codes and scripts into so that I can claim my name so to speak on a few sites I'm looking forward to using for Life with Arie. Lookin' forward to it. Apparently I'm also in the mood to drop g's on words. Blame the holidays...I'm feeling whimsical and crafty, and ready to revamp my wardrobe to make it more fun and eclectic, to take my lovely-as-ever White German Shepherd and woman's-best-friend Arie for a little walk, and then come home to finish up making my Christmas cards and have a cup o' joe. Oh, holidays, I've missed you.
But I ramble.
Anywho...testing testing, one two three....
Let's face it. Everyone loves presents. You can say that the holidays are all about togetherness and family, which they are, but that doesn't mean that people still don't like receiving gifts. In our last post, we covered mine and Arie's drool worthy wishlist for the holidays. The reason we presented it though, is that this year we will not be able to get anything on it. At all. We're moving to a more Arie friendly locale, and as many people know, moving gets expensive. Instead, these are the items my White German Shepherd and I will be enjoying this year, off our low cost/free Christmas gifts for pet lovers list:
Wish List Item #1 The Sappy Trio of Love, Patience, and Time.
We decided to get our heart-warming items out of the way all at once. Sappy though they may be, they are also the best things that you can give your pet, or pet lovers that you know and love. When it comes to giving them to your own four legged family, patience and time are the things that new pet lovers most often don't account for. Hundreds of thousands of animals end up in shelters every year because people underestimate how much time and patience pets need. By taking the time to properly train your pet and to play with them and enrich their lives, and by being patient through their mistakes, you ensure that the love you feel for that cute little ball of fur continues and grows on even when their old and ornery. You can help other pet lovers by giving them patience and time as well--help your friend by walking their dog twice a week, or taking their cat on weekends that they're away. Help them and encourage them through training.
Wish List Item #2 Home made cookies! er...treats.
We've all seen the numerous recalls on pet food and treats and many of us deal with pet allergies every day. While most of us still have companies that we trust, (Arie and I are Nutro enthusiasts), it's fun and rewarding to bake treats in the kitchen you trust the most--You're own! Before you hop on the baking train, be sure you know what you're making is good for your pet, and you may even want to talk to your vet. After you do your homework, get baking! We make peanut butter treats and liver bites (smelly, but beloved) for Arie and Shady, and they love'em!
Wish List Item #3 Belly scratches.
I mean really, have you ever met a dog that didn't go NUTS for a belly scratch? Briseis, our cat, loves them too!
Wish List Item #4 A spa night at home.
Animal people are animal people. Hated by few, understood by many, and fiercely devoted to our own kind, animal people hold a special place in their hearts, souls, and wallets for our four legged friends. We're often guilty of over committing, and that can stretch us too thin, bringing unnecessary stress and fatigue. At least once a month, I let Arie go play with Randy or have a quiet night in the other room while I take a long hot bath, do my nails, and have some me time. There's nothing like a steaming tub and a chilled whiskey (wine is for sissy's...or at least migraines) to give you some R&R.
Wish List Item #5 Further your education.
An educated pet parent is a good pet parent. Give the gift of a pet CPR class, which are usually very affordable, or even just spend some free time with a trainer you know. Use your time and maybe a few bucks to educate yourself and your friends more on animals, what they need, and how to have your best relationship with them possible.
What are the free or affordable gifts that you give to your pets, yourself, and other pet lovers? Share your ideas so we can add them to the list!
Right before Thanksgiving we discussed the idea of two gift lists for you and your pet, or, in particular, for Arie and me. We're starting out with super-amazing-oh-my-goodness-I-wish-I-could wish list. These are the items that we would love to have in our home for our pets, to make our lives a tiny bit easier or just to give the dog and the cats some amusement. Thanks to moving and the holidays, we're on a very tight budget, so each of these will have to wait:
Wish List Item #1 A Roomba iRobot Vacuum
For a long time I thought Roomba's were a joke. There was no way a little robotic vacuum could do a really good job on your carpet--That was until I saw my friend Jorden's in action. That baby scooted around her apartment perfectly, and the most attractive feature was how it handled her dog's hair. Arie, as a typical White German Shepherd with a double coat, sheds little white strands of fur all day along, leaving a light dusting like a first snow on our carpet within a day or two. Daily vacuuming can be an arduous task--a little robotic help would be appreciated!
Wish List Item #2 The Automatic Litter Box
Arie's two siblings are two black cats, Jasper and Briseis. While I love them, they do produce a lot of...well, you know. As dogs sometimes do, Arie and Shady have a bad habit of trying to get into the litter box as well, so between regular scooping and playing defense with the dogs, the litter box can be a major point of hassle on our home. Automatic scooping would help move the temptation away from the dogs and make daily maintenance a little easier.
Wish List Item #3 Biters by Meirav Barzilay
I have to admit...I stole this idea from Lauren and Claire...again...but these toys are epic-ly awesome. Yes, I said epic-ly awesome like an intoxicated frat boy, or Bill & Ted, but they're just that cool. These designer toys (oh so chic) tear apart for dogs who like to rip and tear their toys, revealing treats and more. At $4.95 a pop, they're also cheaper than the stuffing-less toys that Arie has now.
Wish List Item #4 The Coco Dog Bed from Oscar and Lulu
I have a confession...I'm kind of a design whore...and I use that word in the nicest way possible. After writing for interior design firms, architects, and more, I have spent way too much time looking at the latest in modern interior design to ever go back to just throwing furniture together. Now, I work to hone the design and aesthetic of my home. One trend I'm absolutely in love with is the grey trend. Grey has efficiently and effectively surpassed brown as the go-to neutral, and I love these. These dog beds from Oscar and Lulu are trendy, chic, well made, and have the perfect color palette for our new apartment (more on the move in a later post).
Wish List Item #5 Greenies for Joints
While they may not seem splurge gift list worthy, Greenies can be pretty pricey, especially when the size appropriate for your 95 lb. jaws of steel German Shepherd is higher than the teeny weeny ones that work for most dogs. As a breed prone to hip and joint issues, the Greenies for Joints are perfect for Arie, and still help keep her teeth and breath clean and minty-fresh.
What items top your dream pet list? Share your Wish list in a comment.
In our last post, we reviewed the Dog Dash 5K, a great new running event for the athletic and animal loving in the Atlanta area. On the same day as the 5K there was another great Atlanta area pet event, the Atlanta Pet Expo. Vendors from around the metro-Atlanta area headed to the North Atlanta Trade Center in one of the massive pet-friendly Global Pet Expo events. From squeaky toys to natural treats, agility events to low cost vaccines, the pet expo had a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy.
We took time to check out the vendors, speak with various training companies (Arie is headed for a few classes soon) and to see the various adoptable pets at the Expo. I hate seeing them in their crates, and wish I could give them all a home, but that might send us towards an episode of Animal Hoarders, and we all know that is not a great situation for animals or people. Along the way we did meet a beautiful shepherd, a standard black and tan coloration, but with a beautiful long coat. She was a happy girl, and even posed for a photo:
In addition to this beautiful German Shepherd, there were other stars at the Atlanta Pet Expo. Are you a fan of the show Pit Boss on Animal Planet? Shorty Rossi, the lead on the show, along with his top dog and pit bull, Hercules, spoke at the event.
Though he did use the words "sack" and "testicles" enough times for parents to be looking sheepishly at their kids, his message about neutering your pets and ensuring that pits grow up in loving homes that understand training needs and proper pet care, was heard loud and clear. It was great to see someone else who has an appreciation for misused and abused breeds that are deemed "aggressive" and are met with discrimination. Though White German Shepherds have won my heart, I feel a strong connection with pit bull owners when it comes to negative Breed Specific Legislation and more.
Were you at the Atlanta Pet Expo? Tell us what you thought about the event.
I'm a little bit behind on my review of previous events, but the twelfth of November was a big day in Atlanta for pet lovers. I was lucky enough to attend two major events for pets, including the Dog Dash 5K, a relatively new 5K run that went to benefit Atlanta Pet Rescue (the shelter with which I volunteer) and the Atlanta Pet Expo, one of the huge Global Pet Expos that appear in cities around the country. Each had it's own brand of fun for pets and their parents. Here's our recap of the 5K, with the Atlanta Pet Expo recap to follow tomorrow.
I promised you coverage of my volunteering adventures with Atlanta Pet Rescue (APR), and due to communication and scheduling, the Dog Dash 5K was my first real chance to volunteer with the shelter. I was there with another volunteer, and our handsome companion, Vinny. He's kind of a big deal.
In addition to this little cutey, there were plenty of other dogs, including lesser known breeds (we can relate...many people don't know about White German Shepherds, and think that Arie is just a big, awkward husky). One man, who was the only one in the 60+ age bracket (way ta go! I hope to be running like that when I'm 60) came with his Tomaskan, Akeela.
The Dog Dash 5K, is, after all, a 5K, and many people turned out to run with their pets. There were dogs of every shape, breed, and size ready to go with their owners on the chilly November morning when it came time to start the race.
The runners and the dogs ran a nice 5K route around the Historic Fourth Ward Park, a beautiful spot in the city. They came back in at different intervals, but all of the racers performed well and made great time. Afterwards, they were greeted by vendors, water, bananas, and awards.
The Dog Dash 5K was an amazing event, and reminded me of how I want to get more into running, and to start running with Arie. Her strong shepherd gate and activity level are great for running, though we will have to watch her hips as we work on trimming mine down!
If you would like to help the Atlanta Pet Rescue like the Dog Dash 5K, you can purchase one of their calendars for $10. It's a great way to help the shelter and gives you adorable photos year round. If you're in the Atlanta area and thinking about adopting a pet, be sure to see their lovable and adoptable animals here.
Do you run with your dog? What are your tips for running with a dog for beginners?