There is research out there that correlates thoughts and feelings of gratitude to better health, both physically and emotionally.  One of our social-emotional learning (SEL) goals we are focusing on with our students at school is optimistic thinking: focusing on the positive.  It’s very hard to teach optimistic thinking and not have it trickle into your own life.  I am ashamed to say though that in the busyness of life, I don’t stop often enough to reflect on what I am grateful for.  It doesn’t take long; it just takes intentionality.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, I am grateful for so many things in my life but here are a few:

My wonderfully supportive husband, family, and friends…wish I could post pictures of everyone who supports me.

(I take absolutely no responsibility for the matching shirts!)

I have a job that I love. 

(Positive Thinking Hats I made with our 3rd-6th graders for Standards Based Assessments.)

Two dogs and two cats who love us unconditionally.

Pongo has not ingested a rock in over 6 months…knock on wood!

We have a roof over our heads and food soon to be on our Thanksgiving table.

And what makes this Thanksgiving even more special is that Sarah, the vet tech at our amazing vet graciously met us today at the vet’s office to give one very sick kitty fluids.

Blown Away

Pongo goes to work with Steve on Wednesdays.  Usually, he is kenneled in the car with occasional potty breaks or a visit to Papa’s office. And even though Pongo has plenty of office toys and chew toys, he gets bored after about 20 minutes and will begin to bark, so back to the car he goes.

This past Wednesday Anchorage experienced what felt like hurricane force winds.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t also been frigidly cold.  Fluctuating between -23˚and -30˚ was the windchill reading on the temperature gauge, at work.  On this particularly gusting and bone-chilling day, Steve brought Pongo into the office to warm up.  I think Pongo made the conscious choice to be a good boy, to avoid having to go back out to the car, because he spent 6 peaceful hours snoozing in Papa’s office!

It also could have been that he was trying to avoid having to wear his car coat…


We’ve come to realize Pongo is a true snow dog.  Forget the hot, sweltering Australian sun of his ancestry, he is a true Alaskan. He loves the snow: burying his head in it, digging for his toys in it, and most of all playing in it.  Anchorage has received well over a foot of snow the past week or so.  While the constant shoveling can be tedious, I’d rather be shoveling feet of snow than sliding, skidding, not able to do anything, on rain and ice.  I just hope a warm front doesn’t move in, before we can strap on our snowshoes and go exploring with the dogs!

It was going to be just a quick play session outside so we didn’t put Reid’s coat on.  10 minutes later, the poor girl was cold and ready to come in.

A pooped Pongo after playing in the snow.


Reid turns thirteen today.  I’ve always been told, “Big dogs don’t live to be that old” but thankfully, she’s proving us all wrong!  Besides a few more bumps and lumps and a little more wobble and hobble, she’s still chugging along like she’s a young, spry whippersnapper.  Plus, she’s come leaps and bounds in her old age: walking on those scary wood and tile floors that she’s avoided the past 12 years!

On the birthday girl’s agenda:

Posing for birthday pictures with her pesky brother and Kona the cat.

Enjoying homemade smoked bison sausage and cheddar cheese cookies.

Shoveling the driveway with Mama, while a very upset Pongo watches from inside because he can’t be trusted to stick around.

Playing some frisbee out in the freshly fallen snow.

And…putting up with her goofball of a brother.

Happy birthday Reid!  We love you!

Intro To Treibball

We been taking our first Treibball class the past 6 weeks and just finished up last week.  It’s a herding sport but instead of herding ducks, sheep or cattle, the dogs herd different sized and colored balls.  You use the same commands as you would in a true herding situation.  We thought this would be a good alternative to herding actual animals because Pongo already has a hard enough time refraining from chasing (i.e. herding) our kitties.

I do have to be honest, this was a pretty frustrating class for both of us.  You have to be coordinated, which I am not.  Plus your dog has to have enough impulsive control to not bite or pummel the balls which as of now, Pongo does not.  I think this will develop with age but right now, Treibball for Pongo is all about attacking the balls.

We are going to stick with it though because he is one tired out pup, mentally and physically, when we get home and that is so worth it!  Our next Treibball class starts at the end of November.  We still have some time to really practice with Pongo so that our next class is less frustrating and more enjoyable for the both of us.

Our trainer, Liz Williams of Alaska Dog Sports took this video on our last day of class.  This is the best class Pongo had; he really was getting the “push” command down, which I will eventually change to “drive” so it doesn’t sound like we’re trying to have a baby!