Things We've Learned From Our Shelter Dogs.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NudgeThemBack #CollectiveBias

You've met our knuckleheads, right? Manny and Bruce? 

They really are our favorite. Our pups - rat terrier mixes - bring us so much joy. We are so glad we decided to adopt them. We got Manny as a rescue pup in 2008, and Bruce as a shelter pup in 2012. Being pet owners, specifically pets that had a challenging life before we adopted them, taught us a few things. 

1. Your past doesn't define you.
Greeting each day, and each person, we encounter with enthusiasm and a fresh perspective is what our dogs do. Are Manny and Bruce happy with us? Of course! Do they remember the hard life they had before us? Maybe. Regardless, they are so fun to be around and make our lives brighter today. John and I are learning to experience life in the moment, thanks to watching our pups do exactly this.

2. Be excited and genuinely happy about the intricacies of life.
Manny and Bruce meet us at the door with such excitement, whether we've been gone all day or for an hour. Their eyes light up when they get a treat, or when we grab the leash from the hook on the wall.

Like my pups, I am taking more joy in a delicious home cooked meal, a sweet, handwritten note from a friend, and the sounds of nature. Appreciating the small things helps me delight in the bigger picture.

3. Life is more fun when it's shared. 
Our dogs are at our sides constantly. They're under my feet in the kitchen. They are at my side in the garden. They sleep at the foot of our bed (let's be real, under the covers). Bruce is on my lap as I write this sentence. All dogs, not only shelter dogs, know that life is more fun with people that you love.

This is why John and I are making more time for our friends and family; those people that are supportive, curious about our lives, and add value to our days. These are the people that make life better. More fun. 

4. When something doesn't seem right, bark. 
Like fierce little protectors of our home, these pups make some noise when they see or hear something that seems a little off. A noise outside? They'll let me know. A squirrel on the tree? I'll hear about it. The mailman? Yep, he's here.

Much like our dogs, John and I have learned to be assertive and have confidence to speak up when something doesn't seem fair, equitable, humane, or ethical. It is hard to speak up, trust me. It's uncomfortable. It's also the right thing to do. 

5.  Food isn't a given. 
For dogs or humans. In the last 5 years or so, John and I have had an 'awakening' of sorts when it comes to our food system. We've realized that much of the food we eat is not raised, grown, made, or produced with sustainable practices. Much of the food we eat isn't local.

Like Manny and Bruce, who are possessive over their food and treats as a result of their past, John and I realize our American food system is broken. To remedy that, we grow and raise as much of our own food as possible. What we cannot produce on our own, we try to purchase locally or from companies that are sustainable.

For example, I make a lot of Manny and Bruce's dog treats. Sometimes, though, we buy their treats from responsible American companies.

There's this new dog treat, Nudges Grillers and Sizzlers, that Manny and Bruce absolutely love. Granted, they love just about anything edible - including chicken poo - but they were really interested in the Grillers steak flavor.

Nudges Grillers also come in chicken flavor, and the Sizzlers come in chicken-bacon or beef and cheese flavor. All come in 3 or 18 ounce resealable bags, which is perfect for toting along on our summer camping trips. You can find them (as well as the Nudges Jerky Cuts treats) at your local pet store, Walmart in the dog treat aisle, or connect with them on Facebook.

Do you have a shelter dog, or an adopted fur-baby? Tell us about them! What habits do you notice about their behavior, and how do you make their lives more special? 


  1. I realize this is the wrong post but I made your meat marinade tonight and loved it. I took a screen shot to save the recipe and when I went to comment on the post today, it tells me it doesn't exist. :( I used it on chicken thighs and will definitely be making it again!

    1. Hi! I am SO GLAD you love that marinade as much as we do. Here is the link: For Some reason the link was bad on my recipe page. Thanks for the heads up! I will change that :)

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