4 Stages Of Being A Dog Mom

4 Stages Of Being A Dog Mom


A little humor on the subject, because being a Dog Mom is a journey unlike any other.

Stage 1: Love At First Sight

There you are, casually walking through the pet section “just for fun,” naturally filled with guilt for all of these puppies who are in need of a fur-ever home. All of a sudden you lock eyes with the one, and there’s no turning back now.

In a matter of minutes you have already decided on the perfect name, picked out what will become his new favorite toys and called your mom to inform her that there’s nothing she can say to stop you from bringing this little ball of fur home with you.

He performs his bodily functions all over the house? No problem, you don’t mind cleaning up after him.

He nibbles at your ankles and fingers? That’s okay, because he’s just so cute.

You are completely, and utterly head over heels for your new bundle of joy, and there’s nothing he could do to change how you feel.

Stage 2: Plausible Deniability

It’s been a few weeks now, and you’re starting to (silently) wish you had listened to your mom when she begged you to reconsider adopting this puppy.

Remember when it was okay that he was biting you, and shitting all over the house? Well, it’s not cute anymore and you’ve just about had it with his disrespect. After all, you rescued him and this is how he repays you?

You’re convinced that he will never learn, and that the rest of your lives together will be a constant battle.

Stage 3: The Breakthrough

A month or so has passed, and you feel as though you can finally breathe again.

He has begun letting you know when he has to go to the bathroom, he has channeled his constant need for biting into rawhides and chew toys rather than your ankles and he has learned some basic commands.

You have stopped condemning yourself for being the worst dog mom in the world, and have finally accepted that raising a puppy was just harder than you expected it to be.

Stage 4: The Ultimate Takeover

You’ve been a dog mom for about a year, and by now you have learned that you are not the one in control anymore.

You find yourself wondering when your dog decided he was allowed to sleep in your bed, or nap on the couch whenever he feels like it.

He has become the King of the house, and despite your efforts to set him in place, you have ultimately surrendered your authority. His happiness means more than anything, and spoiling him has become your priority.

A mom is responsible for raising and maintaining a life, ensuring both health and happiness.

If allowing my dog to sleep in bed with me, and feeding him his favorite human food (Kraft Singles, like most other dogs I presume) every once in a while makes me a bad dog mom; then so be it.

If he is happy, then so am I.

Cover Image Credit: Katherine Murray Photography

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.

The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.

2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.

3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.

4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).

5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.

6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.

7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.

8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.

9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.

10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.

11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.

12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.

13. Goblin Shark

This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.

14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.

15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.

16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.

17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.

18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.

19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.

And finally....

20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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A Definitive Ranking Of National Parks In The United States, From Big Bend To The Badlands And The Places In Between

John Steinbeck once said, “Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than Disneyland,” and I couldn't have described it better myself.

Every summer, since the age of seven, my family has gone to a national park. Starting at Big Bend in 2007 to the Badlands in 2017, we've been to over 50 national parks in the past 10 years.

The beauty of these preserved natural phenomena is extraordinary and can't be found anywhere else on earth. Seeing these places before they're gone forever is an essential duty to not only people of this earth but especially to Americans who live just hours or even minutes away. If you do choose to set out on this mission, here are my personal top 10, must see national parks.

10. Big Bend, Texas

We will begin with Big Bend National Park, located in West Texas. Big Bend is home to the entire Chisos mountain range and a large chunk of the Chihuahua Dessert.

You may think that the state of Texas doesn't have much to offer besides its residents' pride and the state’s history, but Texas has beautiful landscapes spanning from the piney woods in the northeast, to the hill country in the south, to Big Bend National Park in the west. This national park is certainly not one you want to pass up.

Even if you prefer the lush forests and winding mountain ranges of the north, go to the desert and you'll find views and wildlife you would never imagine to be so beautiful.

9. Kenai Fjords, Alaska

Number nine on the list takes us all the way north to the 49th state of Alaska. With vast mountains surrounding you at every turn, you’ll understand how easy it is to fall in love with the USA’s biggest state.

Kenai Fjords National Park was established in 1980 and is home to some of the rarest and beautiful marine life you’ll ever see. Including jumping humpback whales, flying puffins, barking sea lions, and grand glaciers, it’s most definitely an experience you’ll cherish for life.

8. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Traveling all the way from the arctic tundra back down to the desert once again, number eight on my list is Grand Canyon, National Park. Carved out by the Colorado River over hundreds of years, the Grand Canyon is one of the marvelous creations nature has ever created.

If you do ever find yourself looking down the wall of the canyon, I recommend going to the North Rim. Free of the crowds and most tourists, you can get an experience of what Spanish explorer García López de Cárdenas might have received when the Grand Canyon was first discovered.

7. Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Coming in at number seven, the Rocky Mountains National Park is home to elk, moose, grizzly and black bears, bighorn sheep, and the Longs Peak Trail, one of the most dangerous mountain hikes in the country. Rising up over 14,000 feet, this trail will give you views like no other. The first successful ascent of Longs Peak was in 1868 by John Wesley Powell and several of his comrades.

Since then, over 58 people have died attempting to reach the peak, with an average of two deaths per year. More than 50% of people who begin the long trek to the top don't finish. So, all in all, this hike isn't for beginners. However, any sights in the Rocky Mountains National Park itself certainly brings the nature of our country’s beauty to life.

6. Death Valley, California

Rolling in at number six is Death Valley, National Park. Death Valley is home to the famous Racetrack. Scientists have been researching for years on how these sailing stones on the Racetrack move and leave trails. In December of 2013, a team led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography of UC San Diego discovered that the valley floor was under three inches of water.

Shortly after arriving, the rocks began to move. Their research told the world that the rocks and their tracks are only created under certain conditions mostly consisting of rain and wind. These trails have been formed through over hundreds of years of nature.

5. Yosemite, California

Staying in the beautiful state of California, Yosemite National Park ranks number five on our list. Yosemite contains not only a vast variety of wildlife but also the marvelous rock structure Half Dome.

Half Dome is a 14-mile day-hike that thousands of visitors across the country come to climb. Originally photographed by Ansel Adams, you can see all of the beautiful sights of Yosemite through either his lens or for yourself through your own eyes.

4. Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Venturing back up to the Midwest, Grand Tetons National Park is number four on this top National Park list. Within Grand Tetons is the beautiful Jenny Lake. Jenny Lake is surrounded by rolling hills, spiky mountains, and ferocious grizzlies.

This wonderful lake was created over 12,000 years ago by melting glaciers and can be seen from hiking up the Jenny Lake trail. The beauty of this lake is simply mesmerizing and gives you a clear idea of why Congress passed to make it a National Park in 1929.

3. Denali, Alaska

Falling in at number three, Denali National Park, in the monumental state of Alaska, is home to the tallest peak in North America, Denali (also known as Mount Mckinley). Denali National Park is a habitat for many types of animals such as the American gray wolf, reindeer, all sheep, arctic ground squirrels, and many more.

Going down Denali Park road, you’ll see a vast majority of wildlife at every road turn. Denali is an amazing national Park that everyone should consider adding to their bucket list despite the distance from the continental United States.

2. Glacier, Montana

Coming to the last two National Parks on our list, Glacier National Park has well earned its spot as number two. Glacier once had over 150 glaciers scattered around the area. Now, its numbers have dwindled down to only around 35.

Stunning views of these silent giants can be seen on trails like Avalanche Lake and Iceberg Lake. Although often forgotten about, Glacier National Park is where I found my appreciation for the mountains and love for huckleberry soda. When in Montana, go to Glacier!

1. Yellowstone, Wyoming

Last but not least, my number one choice of National Parks to visit is Yellowstone National Park. Home to sights such as Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring, Lamar Valley, and Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone is a habitat that you'll never see anywhere else in the world. Here you’ll see valleys filled with wild buffaloes grazing in packs as well as individuals being chased by wolves.

The unique diversity that belongs here doesn't just include the animals, but the terrain. Hot geysers scattered about the area are fueled by a volcano located deep underneath the Yellowstone National Park’s surface.

John Steinbeck once said, “Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than Disneyland,” and I couldn't have described it better myself.

Cover Image Credit: Ginger Olson

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