The Best Dog We Ever Had

The Best Dog We Ever Had

Pal; my hero and my dog

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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3 Ways Roadtrips Have Changed Since Your Parents Were Your Age

Phones, food, rideshares - oh my! Driving has changed drastically since the "good 'ol days" of our parents generation - find out how.

Distracted driving – we’ve all done it. Whether you are changing the radio station, engaging with your passengers, talking on your phone or staring at the cute puppy walking by – there’s numerous ways we participate in the deadly activity. 

According to the National Safety Council, over 5 million car and vehicle accidents are reported in the United States each year, and over 35,000 car accident related deaths in 2016 – 10 percent of those stemming from distracted driving collisions. 

Although your parents always tell you to put your cell phone down while driving (and they’re right – you really should), they also engaged in the act when they were young adults, just in different ways. With technology advancing at a rapid rate, our lifestyles are changing and becoming more fast-paced. This means our communication styles and how we spend our free time are changing as well. 

Distracted driving has always been dangerous – there’s no doubt about that. Some ways that distracted driving has changed in our lifetimes are:

Cell Phone Use

The most obvious distraction of the modern age – CELL PHONES. Your parents were not cruising around in their 1970s Ford Pinto (for the real youngsters – this is what a Pinto looked like) texting their friends. If they were lucky (or wealthy) enough, they got a car phone in the 1980s – but that was still a far cry from the phone use going on in cars today. 

According to a 2016 AAA Foundation road safety study, drivers aged 19-24 were more likely to engage in risky cell phone behavior like reading or typing text messages while behind the wheel. Over 40 percent of drivers admitted to engaging with text messages while behind the wheel in 2016. 

Texting and talking on the phone aren’t the only ways cell phones are playing a part in the distracted driving epidemic. Changing the song on iTunes, stalking the newest Bachelor contestants on Instagram, or inviting your friend to play Candy Crush on Facebook (but really, you should never invite someone to play Candy Crush – this isn’t 2013) are all perfect examples of how social media has become an enabler of distracted driving. 

Eating and Drinking

Remember when I said that our lifestyles are becoming more fast-paced? That was implied for the way we eat our food, too. Now of course your parents had food back in the day, but when it came to fast food, they only had a handful of options. Today, the “on-the-go” food trend is flourishing with a grab and go spot on almost every street corner – it’s hard to pass them up especially when you’re in a hurry. With our packed schedules and “on-the-go” mentality, many college students take their food on the road with them.

Whether you’re rushing to make it to class on time (and deal with horrendous campus parking) or you’re running late for your shift at work – you’ve got to find time to eat! These are reasons that a study by Exxon Mobil found that 70 percent of drivers eat while they are driving, and 83 percent drink non-alcoholic beverages while behind the wheel. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that eating while driving increases the likelihood of a collision by 80 percent and attributes it as a cause for 65 percent of near-miss crashes.

Rowdy Passengers

Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing programs have been a godsend in reducing DUIs and drunk driving accidents. But it does encourage distracted driving with rowdy passengers. For some passengers, especially those in college, ridesharing services are the go-to form of transportation when leaving a party or social event. Alcohol tends to make passengers more rowdy and harder to deal with – posing a huge distracted driving risk for the Uber or Lyft driver.

Uber reported they had 2 million drivers in 2017, and over 65 million customers throughout the world. - meaning there are about 32 riders for every Uber driver. With over 6.5 million rides taken on Uber and Lyft per day, it’s easy to see how the drivers can quickly get distracted when tending to their passengers. Trying to keep a 5-star rating as well as get their passengers to their destination safely becomes a balancing act. 

Your parents used to just have to deal with a friend driving them around or the occasional taxi. But ridesharing is now allowing passengers and drivers to interact on a level not previously seen in the transportation world – promoting distracted driving in today’s culture.

Although your parents aren’t entirely innocent themselves, they do still care about you and want you to be safe when you’re driving. If you wouldn’t drink and drive (and I truly hope that’s everyone) then you definitely shouldn’t drive distracted.

Mom and dad are (not always) right – but they are when they tell you to keep your eyes and attention on the road. For more information on how you can prevent distracted driving among your family and friends (or even your Uber or Lyft), visit End Distracted Driving’s website.

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You must read before using truck bed liner.

Have you always continued riding down the road and in your new truck and heard a whistling sound coming from your truck bed? Well, that happens a lot because you have a bed liner that is not a custom fit bed liner. Most people think that it’s not a big deal but along with all that noise that bed liner is also giving your paint a real beating under that liner as well.

There are many reasons why you may have a noisy and damaging bed liner. That is why it is important to make sure your bed liner is a custom fit bed liner. Many truck bed liner manufacturers these days make just two sizes when it comes to bed liners-one for a short box and one for a long table. 

Also over time year after year of truck bed liner manufactures not changing their molds it makes for a worse fit every year. When vehicle manufactures change their truck bed specs every year sometimes twice a year, it makes for an even worse fit. This was Okay to make a one size fits all bed liner 10 to 15 years ago when all truck beds were the same but that is not the case anymore some have steps some don’t like it they are all different in many of their ways. Another reason why you may end up with these problems is when the bed liner has to be cut out in certain areas, to allow the tie-downs fit or access to the stake pockets. 

The wind will get in those areas that are open on one truck but not another. When that done, it makes it hard to give a proper fitment for every vehicle not having proper fitment of your DIY bedliner will be the cause of these problems. Over time that will become the reason why you have no paint left under your bed liner and will leave with rust and damage beyond repair to your truck bed.

Dual liner the dual liner bed liner is a multi-piece custom fit bed liner made to fit each vehicle no matter year makes model or size like a glove. At the end of the day if you have a bed liner that is a 100% tight fit you will not have to worry about all the above problems including the most annoying and embarrassing one of all, and that’s a noisy bed liner.

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