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Sam Dobson Writes: July 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When the World is Going to Shit, Just be Kind

In my sophomore year of high school, I had a weekly current news assignment in my history class in which we were to report on some piece of current events. I used to absolutely dread this easy task. On one particularly bad day, I decided to tell my teacher how much I disliked this piece of homework. I'm not sure if he was actually intrigued or if he was just placating me, but either way he asked me to explain my issue was this assignment. I was honest; I told him that I felt the news was extremely depressing and that I didn't care to watch it or follow it. I was very sure of my feelings at the time.

Fast forward about ten years or so, I still find the news terribly sad and worrisome, but I do follow it fairly regularly. Having grown up just a tad, I understand that it is important to keep up with current events, politics, and other news. So, I listen to news-talk radio when driving to and from work and I keep up with news websites, reading as many articles as I find interesting. But the catch is that it still deflates my happy moods, as I am sure it does to most people. 

This morning, while drinking my coffee, I browsed Yahoo News. A lot is going in the world today. People are pissed about a lot of things, the Zimmerman acquittal, the Boston bomber making front page of Rolling Stone magazine, a US leaker seeking asylum, immigration reform, health care legislation...the list goes on and on. All of this tension and hate wrapped up in a convenient little package on my computer screen. I started thinking about how I am certainly no political activist nor am I a civil rights movement leader, but that doesn't mean I don't want to help make this world a better place.

So where do we find balance? I am talking about those of us who want to do good but realistically aren't going to spend their entire life campaigning for world peace. Don't misunderstand me, I applaud those who dedicate their lives to helping others and doing everything they possibly can to make this world a better place. But like most people, I am more selfish than that. I want to enjoy my life. It all happens so fast, I don't want to miss out on what's right in front of me. It's about passion. You should be doing what you are most passionate about. Saving the world's humanity is the passion of some great people, but sadly it isn't mine. I'm passionate about animals, so I volunteer and manage a small dog rescue group. It isn't much but it's what works for me. That doesn't mean I don't want to do my part in the broad spectrum of things. So, I came up with a few reminders for myself, things I can do every day to do my part in making this world a better place. 

How To Be Kind

I know these sayings are things we have all had beaten into our brains many times over, but that doesn't mean they aren't important. Just think, if everyone practiced kindness and let go of prejudice our world would be much better off. I am not preaching for less action to be taken (I am not preaching at all), I am simply giving myself a realistic way to be a better person. I am being realistic. I won't be mass producing picket signs anytime soon, so I might as well make these habits a part of my daily life. It's all about living kindly. If we are kind to each other and to our planet, we will have a much better chance of surviving happily and surviving longer. Wasn't it Jewel who sang "in the end, only kindness matters"? I believe there is truth in that. I believe that simple acts of kindness can heal our world. I believe in kindness. 

Kindly yours, 

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Don't Feed Your Dog That Crap!

It's champagne Friday which means it's also payday! Lucky dogs, because the bank account was running on low and so was their food supply. Time to re-up so the pups don't starve. My dogs are spoiled, in more ways than one. One important detail, they eat pretty decent food. 

I find it amazing how many people are completely clueless when it comes to what they should be feeding their dogs. Working in the pet care industry in a fairly wealthy area, you would think I rarely come across those who feed their dogs the worst kind of crap, but unfortunately it's extremely common. I will give these people the benefit of the doubt that their mistake is simply ignorance rather than lack of caring. 

Here's the truth: If your pup eats that bright colorful dry kibble that sort of smells and feels like rubber, his diet is comparable to someone who eats McDonald's for every single meal. That crap is extremely processed with not only chemicals with names that I cannot even attempt to pronounce, but with colored dyes and unhealthy preservatives. As a rule of thumb, avoid any brand of dog food that you can buy at the grocery store or Walmart. 

So, the question is what should you be feeding your beloved furry kid? First step toward making the right choice is to read the ingredient list on the packaging. The first ingredient listed should be a recognizable food source (chicken, turkey, salmon, etc.). Skip the bags that contain by-products, preservatives, coloring additives, and the typical ingredients you wouldn't want your human children eating such as artificial sweeteners (corn syrup, fructose, etc.) and binders (corn and wheat gluten). 

Feeding your pup high-quality, expensive, and nutritious food but still having stomach or skin issues? It may not be the quality of the food, but the actual ingredients. Just as humans can have food allergies, so can dogs and many do. Some dogs develop allergies that require them to have grain-free food, others have allergies to certain kinds of meat. If Fido is constantly itching or having soft stool no matter what remedies you try, consult with your vet to see if allergies are the culprit. My boxer went through a soft stool phase no matter what holistic remedies I tried. I switched her from a chicken and rice kibble to a duck and sweet potato and she's pooped solid ever since. 

Unfortunately, the brand I feed my pups has been bought out by Del Monte and will most likely end up with different, cheaper ingredients. That means it's time to switch it up again. If you aren't sure how to go about finding a good brand of food for your four-legged bestie, do some research. I like www.dogfoodadvisor.com for honest reviews and information.

Bon Apetit!