The Ups and Downs of a New Dog

At the time that I’m writing this, butter has been here a week. The last couple of days haven’t been peaches and cream.

She and Buster have established a rough and tumble, brother-sister relationship. We established a bedtime routine and she pees outside.

However, she continues to go number 2 inside. We have tried multiple methods of re-housebreaking her. Obviously, this is what her prior family meant when they said she needed work. So, we have adjusted mealtime for her and are taking her out hourly.

I’m not a fan of crate training older dogs especially when there are multiple dogs in the house. It feels cruel to let one roam freely while the other has to watch.

She also decided to nibble on my jeans. Basically, she ruined them. I have no idea what prompted her to do this. I scolded her, pointing out the wrong.

I know, wholeheartedly, that this little girl has some HUGE emotional baggage. I have no idea why God picked us to raise her. Truthfully, I have enough issues! But, we were chosen and I’m giving it 100%.


#Sponsored Book Spotlight: JOE DE YONG: A LIFE IN THE WEST: William Reynolds

SYNOPSIS: Joseph Franklin De Yong was a cowboy artist, protégé of Charles Marion Russell (Montana’s cowboy artist), and an historical consultant on western films. Dan Gagliasso wrote, “While director John Ford made extensive use of Frederic Remington’s art in his western films, it was the Russell ‘look,’ kept alive by De Yong’s costume designs, scenic sketch art, and historical advice, that influenced the form and feel of such classic Westerns as The Plainsman (1937), Union Pacific (1939), Buffalo Bill (1944), Red River (1948), and Shane (1953).” The authentic work De Yong did in film continues to influence the way costume and set designs for western movies are conceived, as evidenced in classics like Dances with Wolves and Unforgiven, and the mini-series Lonesome Dove.
Joe De Yong: A Life in the West (Alamar Media/September 2018) by William Reynolds is an in-depth biography that takes readers on an incredible journey exploring western culture of the early 20th Century through the story of one unsung cowboy. Reynolds tells De Yong’s story by including photographs of sketches, paintings and documents culled from private collectors as well as from the permanent collections of major western museums.
De Yong’s life was one of challenges, including overcoming cerebral meningitis in 1913 that left him totally deaf. Never one for self-pity, De Yong went on to become the only protégé of his artistic hero Charles M. Russell. He would take the skills he learned and make a life in the movie business working with Cecil B. DeMille and many others. The early films De Yong worked on created a pathway to authentic depictions that – while it was never loudly recognized – was utilized by many in the industry.

Over ten years of research, Reynolds reveals the life of a relatively unknown artist/illustrator who started out to be “just a cowboy” who turns out was quite a “mover and shaker” touching the lives of so many in the western art world of the 1920s through the late 1960s.
This long-awaited, in-depth, biography a treat for any western art fan or disciple of Charles M. Russell.

William Reynolds is an award-winning Western journalist and publisher who as worked in the Western industry for over 35 years. He is the author of several books on Western art and culture including The Faraway Horses with Buck Brannaman, The Cowboy Hat Book with master hatter Ritch Rand, and The Art of The Western Saddle. Reynolds is an active member of the Western Writers of America, Los Rancheros Visitadores, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and former board member of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. For more information about him visit his website,

MY THOUGHTS: This book is absolutely amazing! The level of research and deciation that William Reynolds has given to this work is staggering. From page 1, readers can feel the passion that he had for this project. When an author believes this strong in his work, it’s contagious. You love it because the author loves it.

I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t familiar with Mr. De Yong prior to this work. Now, I can honestly say that I feel as if I really know him. As a homeschooler, I love biographies of often overlooked yet amazing individuals. Biographies such as this one give children a chance to explore the world how it once was and those who made it what it is today. Authors such as Mr. Reynolds give readers an opportunity to explore, grow, and extend their education beyond textbooks.

As opposed to many mainstream biographies, Joe De Yong’s contains a vast amount of images; in fact, over 500! That’s tremendous! If you happen to have a reluctant reader who is also a fan of westerns or cowboys, then you need to pick this book up. In addition to being a biography, readers are also treated to American History, western culture, and, of course, art.

It really is worth a read and it is a profound educational piece. Well-done! I give it 5 stars!


#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office: Kimberly Tice, M.S. CCC-SLP and Venita Litvack, M.A. CCC-SLP

Through an engaging and fun social story format, Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office, uses this evidenced-based therapy tool to teach social skills and eases children’s anxieties about new experiences like getting their ears checked or teeth cleaned. Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office, is designed to help children master these challenging social situations comfortably and competently. The book is written in a positive and patient voice to cater to special needs individuals, however children on all developmental levels will enjoy following Lou on his adventures.
Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office demonstrates the importance of patience in the waiting room, keeping hands safe in the exam room, and telling someone if you feel scared or frustrated. Teachers, mental health counselors and parents hail the series as “amazing,” “informative,” “entertaining” and “one of the best!”
Each book includes repeated phrases to help non-readers follow along and concludes with a tips page and comprehension questions.
MY THOUGHTS: ‘Lou Knows’ is an inventive and important series for children. I agree with the authors that the special needs/autistic reader audience is widely ignored. We need more main characters like Lou! He is the perfect character to introduce children to scenarios which may be uncomfortable. Even adults skip going to their doctors!

As a non-threatening, age-appropriate main character, Lou guides them through their visit with three different types of doctors- dentist, physician, and ophthalmologist. I can see how each one can cause any child to become frustrated and/or angry. The waiting room is probably the worst part.

Illustrator Andre Kerry is the unsung hero here. His depiction of Lou and the places he goes gives readers a feeling of really knowing Lou. He appears to be a fun-loving, inquisitive young boy. Drawing the various doctors as smiling, helpful folks is a definite plus.

I’ve recommended this series to several librarians nearby. Lou’s series should be available to all children to help them navigate their world. Excellent, well-written, and relevant, I give it a full 5 stars!
*Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Butter: The Early Days

After the initial introductions were done and I thought our house was going to become normal again, would be good to have some minor butter issues. For example, butter is good at going outside but then she wants to come in to poop. Thing that I don’t have a large house it’s always obvious if an accident has happened. 3 days after we are my husband and I had to take a trip out of the house and she was home alone with our 15 year old and of course Buster. She pooped outside twice. When course made a great big deal about it and praised her and she was given treats. We thought how easy!
But we should have known it wasn’t going to be that easy. Here we have a dog with severe separation anxiety, having had multiple owners, and a drastically bad living situation. My husband and I are patient people when it comes to animals anyway but even this was borrowing our minds. Why would she go outside to pee and then poop inside the house?
Medical issues were quickly ruled out. This left three factors food, environment, and training. Obviously she needs a lot of work. Being that my husband works outside the home, it’s pretty much up to me. All this while dealing with a sophomore year of high school for our son, an aging mother, household duties, buster, and a chronic illness.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in prayer. God gave us dominion over animals the Bible’s pretty clear about that. So every night I’ve been taking dominion over the situation and asking for the Lord’s guidance and help. I definitely can’t do it without him. If there’s any place to the situation with butter, it said I’m certainly moving more. Plus I think Buster enjoys the extra attention. So right now I’m watching dog training videos, web chatting with vets, and accepting guidance from the Holy Spirit.

A Dog Named Butter Part 4

No more than 3 hours after we got home, Butter’s former ‘family’ began texting. How was she? Do we want her? Telling me how hard it was to let her go.

I struggle with this. No one wanted her. They couldn’t be bothered for 3 weeks. Now they were emotional. They asked for pictures of her, the yard, the house. I felt uncomfortable. I sent off a few pics. They were generic ones of her. I didn’t send house pics.

I had a similar exchange with Buster’s people. No problem. I understood. But, these folks, no judgment, just facts, couldn’t even feed her daily and were content to leave her alone 24/7.

The texts continued until I said we were going to bed. Butter slept on my husband’s chest from 11 PM until 6Am! We were blown away. I woke up to battery of texts begging me to let the family come to my house to see her.

My husband was adamant- no way! He was still livid at her prior quality of life. I had to agree. I thought I would skirt around it by saying it was too soon. Apparently, that wasn’t acceptable. They insisted that the sister who had wanted this dog in the shelter needed to say goodbye to her to move on. Again, I said no.

Phone calls began. They rained compliments on me for my generosity and love for animals. Surely, I could find 5 minutes for the sister to hug her? I explained that we are busy. We have one vehicle. My son is homeschooled. Any possible excuse to make them get it. I thought it worked.

But, sigh, they kept texting into the night. They even called the vet to see if we had made an appointment. I prayed. I called my mom. Her advice was simple. Block them. I fired off one final text. I told them that we are putting Butter first this time. No visit. No more pictures. I wished them all the best. Then, I blocked the number.

For the next 48 hours, random numbers called the phone. But I didn’t answer. No texts came. It was finally finished. So far anyway. What the truth is, I think I’ll never know.

What I do know is, Butter is a good dog. My family is complete. I will continue to detail our ups and downs. But, one thing is clear- she’s home.