On the last day of school, my children would sing, at the top of their lungs, the Chipmonk song, "School's Out for the Summer!" They looked forward to summertime nothingness.


Afraid my children would lose everything they learned, I filled the summer with educational activities. After several summers of visiting museums in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, writing essays (yes, I made them write essays), finishing the summer reading programs, and limiting TV, my daughter finally spoke up. "Mom, we're done with school!" Those probably weren't her exact words, but I got the message. I think she was 14 and Ryan was 11.


Both of my children look back and remember those trips. Yeah, they griped and complained when we went, but in the end, it gave them experiences that helped build their characters.


So, I offer you, 41 things to do in the summer. There are many more things you can do, but Jazzy cannot do all of them so we stopped at 41. Keli, at Three Boys and a Dog, has a website full of activities. (Here is a list of so many more things you can do.)


If you complete Jazzy's list of summertime activities, email her and let her know. You might just get something fun back.



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Okay, listen up. I'll only say this once. Humans think they are training us, but in reality, they will do what we train them to do. Take fetch, for instance.


My human, who I will call mom (but she's not my real mom) throws the ball to me. I run after it because it's fun. After I pick it up I look at her. She's making all kinds of weird noises and yelling, "Come Jazzy" This is where most of my friends go wrong. They run back to their moms.


No! You cannot do that, well not every time, that is. Every once in a while you should, to let them think they are teaching you something, but the better thing to do is stand where you are and drop the ball. Eventually, they will understand that they need to come and fetch it themselves and throw it again.


And use your nose, friends. If the humans aren't carrying food, you don't have to do anything! Take it from me, they will soon realize that you work for treats and nothing else. Yes, you can, every now and then, listen and get a good pat on the head, but don't do that often or they will get used to it.


The last thing I want to explain is the food situation. Why they think that hard kibble they drop in our bowls is good for us, I don't know. Don't eat it. Humans are notorious for feeling sorry for us. Work on the LOOK. Put your ears down, tilt your nose down but look up with your eyes. For good measure, lift your paw. They can't help themselves when you do that and will, most likely, give you their food. It's softer, tastier, and much warmer to eat.


This ends the lesson for the day.

If you have any questions, bark out loud.


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I am a poet. My lines of choice usually rhyme. Stretching my words to become more than a simple verse is a challenge. For this April, which is National Poetry Month, I am challenging myself to write more meaningful, beautiful, emotional words. For isn't that what poetry is?


Here is a poem about dogs.


Puppy cuteness overwhelms.

Their sweet breath warms as they lick your face, your fingers, your toes.

Ouch! Don't forget the sharp teeth.

They grow and learn. Like children, they test their boundaries.

A give-and-take relationship that always ends with wet kisses.

Their tails wag when they say good morning.

Hips wiggle along with the tail as they say hello at the door.

Got food? Their whole body shakes in expectation.

Whisper their name when they are asleep and watch their tail move ever so slightly.

That tail is the friend-o-meter, food-o-meter, play-o-meter.

Look into their eyes.

The expressive turn of sadness, fun, guilt, shame, and pleading.

"Please, just one more treat?" "Please, don't put me in the kennel?"

"Please don't go!"

They don't even have to bark when they look at you.

But, they love the sound of their voice.

They bark at the squirrels that run above them.

They bark at the cars that zip by, "Stop, play with me."

They bark at the door when visitors come.

There will always be something. They wallow in the mud. They steal your food.

But we always forgive them because they snuggle.

We always forgive them because they always love us no matter what we do.

They forgive our absence. They forgive our tempers. They forgive our forgetfulness.

Somehow they know when we are sad and snuggle more.

We love our dogs!

Our dogs love us more!




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