The Best Dog We Ever Had

The Best Dog We Ever Had

Pal; my hero and my dog
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Growing up I never thought I would be the type of girl to have tattoos. Its not that I thought there was anything wrong with them but they just weren’t for me. I was 19 when I got my first one done and 22 when I got the second one. Both of my tattoos have stories behind them, they are remembrances for the ones who made such an impact on my life that after their death I got a tattoo. When I came home after getting the first one I got told I would regret it. When my response was ‘Did you read it’ and afterwards that person admitting that there was no way I would ever regret it.

I was roughly about 7 years old the day my mother brought Pal home from the shelter. Pal was a rescue who was scheduled to be put down the very next day but my mother couldn’t let him go. So Pal joined the family that at that moment was 2 adults, 2 kids, 3 cats and now 2 dogs. Technically one of the cats didn’t live with us, Lucky was a huge mainecoon who lived at my mother’s pet supply store. The other 2 were littermates Laverne and Shirley. Our other dog was Ziggy a miniature schnauzer who thought he ran everything. We always had a house full of animals but Pal was the glue.

Pal had been a rescue from a dog fighting ring who had gone through multiple families before us. After he recovered Pal became the fiercest protector of the family that we had ever had. After some time we ended up moving to an area that wasn’t necessarily the best area. Crime rates were high and my brother and I weren’t allowed to play outside after a certain point. Well one day my mom was walking Pal (only the adults were allowed to walk him) and my younger brother was walking Ziggy, seeing as he just followed the leash and listened to whomever was with him.

Now for some backstory we had a neighbor who lived pretty much diagonal from us who had 2 children and 2 dogs. Now those kids were easily in their teens and the dogs were pit bulls. Well these 2 specifically were very aggressive and went out of their way to threaten everyone. My brother and I actually weren’t allowed to play in the front of the house because of these dogs. They were poorly trained and just problematic to the entire neighborhood. What was more problematic is that one or both of the kids thought it was funny to let the dogs off their leads and let them run loose.

So my Mom and my little brother are walking the dogs due to the fact we didn’t have a fenced in backyard in that house. There was an empty lot at the end of the block not too far from our house and my Mom would go there. Now this lot was across from the house with those dogs. Generally speaking my mom always made sure that the dogs weren’t out due to the fact that if either my brother or I were out my Mom didn’t want to worry about us.

On that day the dogs were out and my mother didn’t realize. While my mother was facing Pal and she heard growling. I was down the block with one of the neighbor kids just playing and witnessed what I will always declare to be one of the scariest moments of my life. My mother stomped her foot and told the dog to leave, he left and my mom thought that was the end of it.

So my mom turns back to the dogs and my 4 year old brother who have been all outside this entire time. A few minutes go by and my mother hears snarling again, as she turns the dog is lunging for her, somehow my mother got brought to the ground as Pal jumped over her and met the dog in mid-air. I went screaming for my father who nearly ran me over to get outside and to my mother and brother. What I saw next has honestly stayed with me until this moment. The owner of the dogs had shown up at this point and was screaming and cursing at my mother (who is still on the ground) and Pal who is standing there in full protect mode between them. The one dog who had charged was laying in the street and the other one started to move towards my brother who is still just standing there.

He had actually dropped Ziggy’s lead and was standing still in absolute horror. Pal after finishing with the one dog just moved in front of my brother ready to die to protect his family. The owner of the dogs grabbed them and sped off, neighbors came and helped my father get my mother inside where my Dad upon looking at my mother’s ankle realizes she needs to go to the hospital. My mom’s telling my Dad no and that he needs to check Pal first. At this point Pal is just standing there watching everything going on and sorry for the image covered. My Dad drops down and immediately starts feeling along all of Pals skin. If he’s been wounded he needs a vet and as my mother said she could wait. By some miracle Pal was uninjured and my mother had only sprained her ankle when she went down.

We moved not too long later and soon it was time for Pal to save my life. I had moved into a very dark portion of my life and at 10 years old had reached the point where I couldn’t cope anymore. I would have rather been dead then to keep going through everything I was going through. I had written out a note and lo and behold Pal had somehow come into my room without me noticing and brought the note downstairs. One of my parents grabbed it and not 30 seconds later my name was being screamed up the stairs.

I went into treatment the next week for the depression that the extreme bullying had put me through. And started going to therapy and group therapy in an attempt to come to terms with the fact that my brain was sick and it could get better I just needed to work at it. If it hadn’t been for Pal I don’t know where I’d be right now.

Now with all dogs we had good times and bad times (like the time he decided that the dog in the next yard needed to be gone). But through all of that I know that no one in my family would change a second. Pal was one of the greatest dogs we’ve ever had and honestly that I will ever have.

Pal died in 2003 with my Mom by his side, while my brother and I were at school. He hadn’t been doing very well and my parents had to make the choice that is one of the hardest in a pet owner’s life. When it’s time for it to end. Pal couldn’t really move well anymore and it was clear his hips were bothering him. He didn’t want to climb the stairs anymore and in fact all he wanted to do was sleep or lay there. So my Mom knew it was time to say goodbye to him. She brought him to the vet and held him as he left this world and crossed over the rainbow bridge.

So when the time came to get my tattoo I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted his name because I knew that he was standing guard everywhere I went. It’s on my left shoulder and I will never regret it. Pal was a huge part of my life and even though he’s gone I will always remember him. We love you Pal, have a pig ear or 5 in dog heaven and we’ll see you someday.

Cover Image Credit: Kathleen Marcheletta Paul Pownall

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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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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What Is The Reality Of Owning A Dog?

The pros and cons of having a dog.
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What do you think of when someone in your family says they are buying a dog? Cute! Can't wait! Aw! Or none of the above? It's okay, I was there. I know what it's like to be the minority that wasn't excited. Granted, it was because it went against my feelings.

My family got our dog, a Shiba Inu (a Japanese dog), last June. Our dog, unfortunately, was very difficult at first. The reason I was not excited was that, as much as animals are "cute" and "cuddly," they require a lot of work, and I knew that the work would fall on me.

Are YOU ready for a dog? My dog, I think, sensed that in the beginning, I wasn't welcoming. EVERY single time the door to my room was open, he would "do his business" right on my floor, not even on a wee-wee pad. He was out of control. When we would leave him out of his cage, we would come home and all of our important files and papers were ripped and basically destroyed.

There was a point when it got ridiculous and we bought a mini fence to put in the hallway so he wouldn't get to my room. To be spiteful instead, he would "do his business" in front of the fence since he couldn't get to my room. He also had a real problem with listening to us. At first, he wouldn't listen to anyone, then he learned to.

A dog requires essential shots that can get expensive, especially with a newborn. We got him when he was only 2 months old. Also, we needed to take him to free dog training at the place my family bought him. That also didn't help because my dog's breed is known for being troublemakers.

Then there was the issue of who was going to walk him and when, since all three of us were either working or in school or busy most of the day. In the last few months we walked him more, but now he's so used to "going" inside, we still have yet to teach him how to do it outside. Training a dog is a very difficult process, so you need to understand all of this BEFORE you get one.

I think it is hard to train any baby dog because you were his or her only master. There is an unspoken communication though, where dogs understand how you are feeling and want to comfort you. There are multiple benefits. Playing with your dog gives you something to do, and you are also learning how to take care of a living being.

Over time, even if you are not excited, you do grow love for the dog. Mine is named Riku, and he was a handful, but because of him, my love for dogs has grown exponentially. At first, people told me we should have gotten a cat because they are easier and more independent, but with all of the difficulty in initially taking care of a living being, you become prepared for the future.

Cover Image Credit: Jane Verdel

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