Category Archives: Dog Love

For the love of dogs

An Open Letter to Tesla’s Breeder

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This month marks the second year anniversary of my Tesla’s passing. My heart still aches for her every day. Cancer still f*%king sucks!

On her birthday anniversary on November 2, 2017, I wrote a letter to her breeder. I wanted the breeder to know what she brought into my life and what the breeder did wrong by Tesla. If you’re going to breed dogs of this caliber then you need to stay in touch with a puppy for its full life that you sell.

Entebucher’s are incredible dogs. Until you are owned by one it’s hard to understand the impact can they have on your life.

Here is the letter:

This is my Open Letter of Thanks to you. Eleven years ago I was able to bring the most amazing and loving dog into my life because of you. The pre-arrival items of toys and other goods were the indication of what was to come. When we picked her up at the airport in Dallas, her crate was still secured and had a towel, blankets, and water. After I was able to finally allow her out of the crate it was instant love. Her nubby wagged like crazy, as she explored the grassy area while we waited for her to go to the bathroom. She showered us with initial kisses. On the drive back home – she refused being in the crate. She rode the rest of the way either at my feet or in my lap.

She lived in three homes while here in Sundown, because we moved that many times during her life. The best home she had was the one with tons of pecans trees. Big branches would fall during storms and it was so funny seeing her drag those big branches through the yard. She loved eating pecans. At that house, there was a huge dirt pile, and when it rained we’d have one muddy, soaked Entle. It was always fun taking her to the vet, because Dr. J, before Dr. J passed away, always bet her vet techs and staff $5.00 if they could tell her what breed Tesla was. They always lost. When we traveled with her, there were times when she howled in the hotel room even with the TV going. My only regret with her is that she did not get enough beach time.

Her personality turned out to be more of a loving companion. Tesla was by my side during extreme periods of personal grief, through one very hard Master’s degree, the initial writing of my Hunt book, and then lastly the raising of her sister, Azrael, who is a Czech Shepherd. Tesla never chewed on anything in the house except pillow corners. She was a constant presence between us as we slept each night.

When I tried sending you yearly updates on her during Christmas time, those emails fell in a vast cavern of nothingness. You never responded to any of them, so I stopped giving you updates.

We came to live with Tesla’s goofiness. You see she rode in a plane with six corpses/caskets from her first home. I often said their ghosts made her the way she was. Thunderstorms scared her, as well as loud noises. For some reason, she never liked Barry’s dad, Bill. I’m still planning a book on that plane ride of hers.

If it were not for you nearly 11 years ago I would’ve never had the best companion in my life be apart of my heart and soul. Thank you for trusting a stranger. Thank you for allowing me to give you payments on her. Thank you for all the pre-care.

What I wish is that you had kept in better contact. What I dearly wish I’d known about was genetic testing, especially for potential cancer. What I really needed to know was the updates on the health of her parents and other siblings. Jett, her brother, I knew about because Sue and I became friends on Facebook long ago. When Tesla died – my heart was crushed. It’s still crushed. We spent over $2,000 to save her life for just a little while longer, only to have her life leave from her body as we were holding her. She died in her home. Cancer fucking sucks.

As I try to bring another Entle into my life, I’m finding it more and more challenging. Everyone wants a designer a dog now. Most probably don’t want an Entle for the purity of the breed. I want another Entle because of what Tesla meant to me.

I wanted you to know from the bottom of my heart I will always be thankful to you for trusting a stranger. My heart will always be grateful and kind to you for allowing us to bring Tesla into our lives. She was simply the best and most unforgettable dog ever to come into my life. Without you – I never would’ve experienced that…

Best always –

Christena 

Note: The painting of Tesla was from right before she died. It was done by June Musick, who is a dear friend who presented the painting to me on my birthday in 2016 after Tesla’s passing.

June Musick’s art can be seen here:

June Musick Art: http://junemusick.com/workszoom/2063756 

June Musick Art: http://junemusick.com/

Azrael’s Tips on Hiking with your Dog

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Getting ready to hit the trail.

 

I’m Azrael, a rescued Czech Shepherd living in West Texas. I was born to work, hike, and play hard. I can catch 100s of bubbles in one playtime. One of my favorite things to do is travel with my mom even if it’s to the post office, but mostly I love hiking with her.

One of my favorite places at the moment is Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, Texas. The beauty of these canyons is breathtaking, except on 100-degree days when the sun is baking the dirt and making you sweat.

On a recent day of hiking at Caprock, we enjoyed a beautiful day of about 80 degrees. The streams were running and it was a tad cloudy with a cool wind blowing. We stopped along the trail at a favorite spot that has a bend in the stream. Here we enjoyed our lunch snack, while my Aunt June did some watercolor painting. Days of hiking like this simply go down in our memory book. Honestly, I don’t have enough of them with my mom.

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My Aunt June doing a watercolor of the canyon. She’s a great artist!

However, this day was spoiled to a certain degree because of other dogs and their owners. There are people who don’t know how to act with their dogs or keep their dogs in check on a hiking trail.

On this trip, I had two dogs bark and snarl at me and pulled at their leashes while we on the trail. We even moved to the side of the trail and still, these dogs kept snarling and pulling. The owners were struggling to keep them in check. My mom taught me not to bark or growl and if I do she corrects me in German. Thank goodness my Aunt June was there to run potential interference just in case. Later we encountered a geology professor who said he ran into an unruly boxer on the trail. Even after when we got back to the parking lot from our hike another dog started barking at me. None of the owners corrected these dogs.

This spoils it for all dogs that know how to act outdoors. I can understand now why so many places are not dog-friendly because other dogs who have not been trained to act well around others makes it miserable for all of us.

I’m offering some of my tips on hiking with your dog(s). For me personally, these are important rules to heed to keep everyone safe so all hikers enjoy their hiking days.

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Taking a rest before we continue our hike.

Azrael’s Rules of Hiking with Your Dog

1. If you meet another dog with their hiker on the trail move over off the trail in a safe manner to allow that dog and hiker to pass.

2. If you encounter a hiker(s) without a dog move over off the trail and let that hiker(s) pass. Why? Because that person you just met might be potentially afraid of dogs or they might have kids who are afraid of dogs.

3. If your dogs are not well mannered at home – then guess what they are not going to be well mannered while hiking. Simply put your dog needs basic training of walking on a leash and not reacting to other dogs or hikers on the trail.

4. Don’t allow your dog to bark at other dogs. Seriously, I’m out there to enjoy the outdoors – I don’t want to be barked at by your disobedient dog.

5. Take water for your dog. I don’t know how many times we’ve encountered dog owners who don’t have water for their dogs. Mom bought me a training backpack and now I’m carrying my own water. Most dogs we’ve met on the trail neither the owners nor the dog had water. My Aunt June came up with a good idea – put the water bottles in the freezer to help your dog keep cooler on hotter day hikes. Also, add a bandana to the pack to wet down to place around the your dog’s neck to keep them cool.

6. Treats and food – if you’re hiking with your dog bring them treats and food. Make sure that some of your food is dog friendly too. Freshly ground peanut butter or sun butter are my favorites.

7. Hikers don’t walk up to me or other dogs and start petting us. Ask before you pet! I or other dogs might not like you.

8. One of mom’s favorite things to do is to take photos of other dogs. Always ask if it’s ok to take photos of another person’s dog.

9. Create a pet first aid kit to carry to cover any pet-related injuries. One important item to always include: tweezers especially if prickly pear cactus or other cacti are present.

10. Enjoy your time with your human. Life is short. There is nothing I love more than just being with my mom in the outdoors.

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One of our favorite spots at Caprock Canyons.

Another important tip I didn’t mention is clean up after your dog. I’m weird so I don’t go to the bathroom when I’m out hiking. But no hiker wants to come across your pet’s waste.

My one last bit of advice is don’t take so many damn breaks. We are your companions and we love being with you. We want to explore. We want to go.

I hope my dog hiking tips will help those who hike with their dogs, as well as families who just want their companions with them. Don’t let your unruly dog spoil it for the rest of us. Hiking is an enjoyable activity, even when you’re sweating in 100-degree weather. Keep it enjoyable for all us.

Get outside and explore the trails.

 

Photographs – © Christena Stephens Photography