Happiness is Truly Up to You

Can you determine your own fate? Before extrapolating a lifetime, contemplate how you decide the fate of your day, any given day.

Happiness is Something You Decide Ahead of Time

I bought a sign that tells me so at a craft store. It rests on my bathroom vanity to remind me in the mornings who is in charge of my day’s outcome. That would be me.

Craft sign with inspirational wording about happiness
A mantra sign in my bathroom!

Granted, something you cannot control can happen, but how you react is up to you too. How hard is this in practice? Very, especially when we get into routines and forget our own advice.

Last night, a friend shared a postcard on Instagram that reads:

Imagine If We Obsessed about the Things We Loved About Ourselves

Wow, I needed that reminder. I tend to create to-do lists with unattainable schedules and then beat myself up for not meeting goals. To be sure, these objectives need to be identified before anything can be accomplished with purpose and results. But, I must be mindful to reflect on accomplishments and experiences, large and small. How often do we celebrate the small moments? The incremental change?

This morning, I awoke with my to-do list front of mind and raced to the office to get going on it. I also reviewed affirmations of what I like about myself. What attributes do I have to contribute? What little things do I like? How do I shape my days? The day progress and things popped up unexpectedly, but things that are most welcome.

I had new experiences and met new people. I got back to my office and knocked out some work too. I’m mostly prepared for tomorrow, but not completely, and that’s OK.

My big goal for tomorrow is to carve out a little time in the afternoon for me, to stretch, to think, to smile.

Foxhound-Catahoula Leopard Dog mix reclining on couch.
Mr. Higgins, a.k.a., The Sage Leopard

I started this blog as a passion project to celebrate what I love most, including my dog, my cooking and my quality time outdoors. Life is ever evolving, which is wonderful. There are also constants, which for me include great cooking, dogs and laughter. Those are things I choose to celebrate.

What do I love about myself? Admittedly, it seems like a cringe-worthy contemplation, of someone self-centered and vain. Remember, though, we become what we choose and so to better ourselves we should visualize what we appreciate and what we want.

Catahoula Leopard Dog puppy with blue merle markings.
Our puppy knows how to be happy.

Good luck,

The Sage Leopard

Introducing Buster Tobias, the Catahoula Puppy

Social media can truly save the day for stray dogs. This is the story of how we adopted our second Catahoula Leopard Dog puppy from the county shelter. Our love for Buster began with a shelter video posted by volunteers to a Facebook page for the pound. A woman in the region then shared the video to a closed group on Facebook for Catahoula owners. That’s when my Saturday morning and life changed. I saw this trembling creature and knew we had to go spring him.

Earlier this year, we lost our old Chester B. to ravages of cancer and his younger brother Higgins was despondent. We’d been conferring on the right time to get another dog and my boyfriend wanted to hold off. That is until he saw the compelling video of the shaky puppy at the pound. That prompted him to push back a meeting with a man about a dove lease. We later showed up for the hunting lease meeting at a Buccee’s with our new puppy wrapped in a towel from the shelter.

The puppy was an estimated 4 weeks old and weighed 5 pounds, but we were guessing a lot of that initial weight was from worms! His little body was terribly distended from worms. This displaced his center of gravity so when he tried to walk forward, he ended up knocking his forehead on the ground. By Sunday morning, our concerns grew for his health.

To put it delicately, there was an environmental disaster in his crate. Live worms came out of poor puppy. This was after his first dewormer dose. Without getting into further revolting details, we made sure his go time was in the front yard and not in the backyard where Higgins plays. Buster was discomforted and even looked a little scared. I could not wait for our Monday morning appointment with our regular vet. Dr. O. set the puppy on the right track with another kind of dewormer, an antibiotic for a skin condition, other medication and well wishes for the addition to the family.

The vet also estimated Buster was actually six weeks old and would likely reach 50-60 pounds when full grown. Just looking at his paws, we wonder if this is a low estimate for his adult size. Sometimes when he stretches after a nap, he appears taller.

He has been growing like a weed, gotten healthy and begun his life of adventures, starting with the backyard.

He has learned leash walking, sit, stay and lay down. He previously obeyed fetch, or “bring it,” but now relies on his own discretion with that command. We will seek to reinforce “bring it,” especially as we want to take him bird hunting. Before we do that, a lot more training steps and phases are in order.

He is now a little over four months old and weighs closer to 30 pounds. He is thriving. He’s also eating my shoes and clothes. The good news: he has stopped gnawing on my hands. He’s learning to bay and starting to boss around Higgins, our four-year-old Catahoula/Foxhound mix.

This is the second time social media saved the day for dogs at our home. A lost mother-daughter yellow lab pair showed up and their family saw my post on a lost & found page. We have had several dogs turn up here and the previous owners said there is something about this house that draws them in — maybe because they just like it here. Buster and Higgins, our pound puppies, love it here.

Moral of the story: Adopt a shelter dog. There is so much love at the pound!

The Sage Leopard

Chester, Hold Us a Spot in Heaven

Chester B. joined Molly Mae in heaven yesterday and our hearts are heavy. They’re heavy because they are so filled with the endless love this generous soul always gave us. Byron in 2008 adopted Chester, already a mature dog living at a rescue ranch.

dog adoption
The day they met in 2008, Byron signed on to be Chester’s human.

The intent was for Chester to be Molly’s companion but he was a friend to everyone he met and the steady rock of Byron’s home. He was a lot like Byron: caring, kindly, gracious, nonconfrontational, loyal, quiet and loving. Chester really liked to give hugs. A little over a year ago, he was given 30 days to live without medical intervention and Byron elected to give him chemotherapy. The dog went through chemo twice but it stopped working this April, when he was already over 13 years old. The past couple of months he didn’t show he was still suffering as it quietly reemerged. Instead, Chester enjoyed life per usual, and by that, I mean making the most of everyday. Each morning, Chester liked to enthusiastically start with a healthy breakfast before a snuggle session. He would stretch and hug and stretch more. Then hug again. Chester absolutely loved hanging out in the garden and backyard to watch the world go by. He was known to occasionally bag a dove (sneakily).

dog
Chester B. enjoying the outdoors

He acted very casual but he was serious about being steadfast. Between Molly and Higgins both being bossy boots, he stoically put up with a lot of nonsense. He would walk up to his humans and gently nudge for a little gratitude and petting. He also kissed when he felt appreciative. Chester was extraordinary with children. He was so loyal it felt as if he would be with us forever. Yesterday, he suddenly suffered from brain swelling and he was brave. He was able to say good-bye to many medical caregivers who got to know him. His grace was widely felt. Now, he truly is with us forever as our guardian angel. We love you, Chester, and are eternally grateful.

Love, Katharine & Byron

The Sage Leopard