My Philosophy

Hannah Crashed Out on the Couch“Each day I strive to live my life more simply, to long for nothing more than something to eat and drink, the joy of companionship, and a comfortable place to rest.  For me, it’s an effort; for my dogs, it’s natural.  I admire them for that.”

~ Jim Foster

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GoPro – Vizslas in Slow Motion

This is a compilation of video clips that were shot on a GoPro Hero 3+ (Black Edition), while either mounted on a pole, or mounted to Molly’s collar. All videos were shot in the Haagse Bos (a large park in The Hague, The Netherlands).

Flip is the Vizsla at the end of the video; he and his family (Nathalie, Jeroen, and Bram) are absolutely wonderful friends of ours! We miss you guys!

The song is called Flies, by More Hazards More Heroes, from their album, Dyin’ Ain’t for Death. You can download this song and others of theirs here: http://morehazards.com/

If you have trouble seeing this vide via our website, you can watch it directly on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZtlVCzW5NE

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15 Things My Dog Taught Me About Being a Better Human

  1. Make the time. Always take that extra car ride or walk, no matter how worn out from the day you may feel. When the time comes that your friend is no longer with you, I guarantee you’ll wish you’d spent more time together.
  1. Be true to your family. We all have our faults, but they are easily overlooked; never let those faults come between you and those you love. In the end, your pack is all that matters.
  1. Life is short. Don’t waste energy dwelling on the negative when there are so many good things in life to enjoy. Do something fun every single day. It doesn’t matter what you do, just find one thing that brings you pleasure and do it; savor the moment as if it were your last.
  1. Feel the wind. Stick your head out the window of a moving car at least once. When you do, you’ll discover what your dog enjoys so much about it. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.
  1. Never let your dog get fat. You may think you’re showing them love them with that food, but it’s unfair to your dog and will only shorten his/her life, causing unnecessary discomfort. Instead, love them with an extra walk or car ride – something they’ll appreciate much more than that extra treat, and something that’s much more healthy for the both of you. Don’t have the time? See lesson number 1.
  1. Take a nap. We all took naps as little children, and in kindergarten there was even a dedicated nap time. Then, for some strange reason, we seem to leave them behind. Your dog knows all about naps; rediscover what you’ve forgotten.
  1. Sleep with your dog. It may not be practical for everyone, but if you can, do it. There is nothing more enriching after spending the day together (or apart, for that matter), than to curl up together at night with the one(s) you love.
  1. Swear off the leash. There are times we need them for the safety of our dogs, but endeavor to spend more time where and when they’re not needed. You and you dog will be much happier for it.
  1. Puppy breath. There is no sweeter smell on earth.
  1. Be happy. Food, water, and a little bit of companionship go a long way. The rest comes in the form of life…sunshine, rain, the environment around you, and those within it. Embrace life and all it has to offer. Don’t look to what you want, look to what you have, and cherish it, for it’s more precious than you realize.
  1. I will always have dog hair on my clothes. It’s a simple fact of life with a dog that I’ve resided myself to, and a tell tale sign of those who share their lives with these amazing beings.
  1. We have not domesticated dogs; they have enslaved us. We house, feed, and bathe them. We buy them gifts, dress them in clothes, take them for walks, and even pick up their poop. That said, I still believe we are richer for it.
  1. Get outside. Life is far better, and far simpler under an open sky.
  1. Humans may be intelligent, but dogs are wise. We can do math, build buildings, and escape the surly bonds of earth, but in the process, we have done damage to our planet; ourselves. Dogs, on the other hand, have mastered life…learning what really matters to be happy, healthy, and survive as a species; we stand to learn a lot from them.
  1. And finally, what I embrace today as my life’s philosophy. “Each day I strive to live my life more simply, to long for nothing more than something to eat, the joy of companionship, and a comfortable place to rest. For me, it’s an effort; for dogs, it’s natural. I admire them for that.”
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Memories

At first I was alone, but I was too young to understand. I did not realize that I had been turned loose to the street, left at some shelter, or simply abandoned or neglected. I was never alone, though, for you were out there somewhere, waiting for me. Whether you knew it at the time or not, such was the case, for there was a higher authority with a plan for us.

The day we met, you won my heart. You took me in and showed me what I had never known. Until that time, I never knew anyone could be so full of love; I never knew the world to be so grand.

For years I patiently stood, waiting by the door for you to return from work, the grocery store, or wherever it was you had gone; I longed for every moment spent with you. It never mattered where we were, or what we did, only that you let me be by your side; that you touched me, and let me touch you. I simply loved to be with you. I especially liked it when you let me sleep with you.

My mind is full of sweet memories. I remember you taking me to the park and letting me chase the squirrels and ducks — and even though you weren’t supposed to let me off the leash, you did; thanks. I remember the other dogs we met and the others in our pack. I remember the car rides with my face in the wind, and how wonderful it was to drink in all the smells. I remember the treats and how good they tasted, even if you didn’t let me eat the whole box of biscuits in one sitting. But most of all, I remember you and how happy you made me feel.

I’m older now, much older, and I can no longer run as I used to love so much. My bones ache and I tire easily, even after only a short walk. Sometimes, it’s even hard just to stand up, as my hips are not what they once were. But, I still love you just as much as before, and I know that you still love me. I still wag my tail when I see you, or when you look at me, even though I’m too tired to move. I’m okay for now, but I know that one day this will end. I don’t know how or why I know this, but I do. I don’t want to leave you — ever, but I know that one day I will. I don’t know what will happen after that, but I do know that whatever does happen, you will always love me.

I guess what I’m really saying is, thanks. Thanks for being there for me, and for loving me when I was otherwise unwanted. Thanks for taking care of me all these years, and for tolerating me when I acted up. You are the greatest person in the world — and my love for you (my commitment to you), is deeper than you can ever imagine. I also wanted to tell you that, when the time comes, do not be afraid to let me go, to let me rest. My body will not last forever, but my love for you will endure long after I take my last breath. Not even death can cleave a gap between us, for what we share is eternally strong and endless in nature.

Yes, this is what I would tell you if I could speak, what I would think if I possessed such power of reason to understand why I feel the way I do.

So, I simply ask you this: when the time comes, let me be, but hold me close once more before I go, and kiss me softly between the eyes, as you always did. Of all the memories, I liked this one the best, so make it my last. I love you.

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Beach Day 06 August 2016

Short video of our sunrise beach day outing with Eva, Honey, Ollie, and Louie.  This is what it’s all about.  Shot and edited using GoPro Hero 3+ and GoPro Editor software.  The song is Elation by the Isbells.  Enjoy!

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All Labs Matter

I thought I’d share a light-hearted look at a current situation that is anything but…hope you enjoy.  The picture isn’t mine; hopefully, the owner is okay with my sharing.

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All Labs Matter

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Beach Day – 06 March 2016

Just another beautiful weekend in the Bahamas (bugs aside), and what better way to spend it than by enjoying the company of four dogs at the beach.  Honey loves her island doggie friends Eval, Nino, and Ollie, among others.

The dogs all love the water here (who wouldn’t, right?), which made for a great time for all.  I honestly could not think of a better way to spend the day.

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Honey; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey’s Friend, Eva; Andros Island, Bahamas

Nino

Honey’s Friend, Nino; Andros Island, Bahamas

Ollie

Honey’s Friend, Ollie; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey

Okay, so it’s been a great deal of time (way too long) since I posted anything, but I wanted to share an update to my last post, “On the Hunt.”

I am proud to report that Honey was the lucky little girl that came into our live to be the next member of the Fosterpack.  She is a wonderfully sweet and pretty little girl and is a welcomed addition to our family.

Below are some pictures of Honey here in the Bahamas.  Hope you enjoy them!

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Honey at the Beach; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey at the Beach; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey at the Beach; Andros Island, Bahamas

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Honey’s Friend, Oliie

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Honey’s Friend, Nino

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Honey’s Best Friend, Eva and Eva’s Mom, Maria

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On the Hunt

After some discussion on the matter, we decided to leave the twins (Libby and Molly) with Debbie in California, and adopt another dog to bring with me to the Bahamas.

We are excited about adding another member to the Fosterpack and are on the active hunt for our next addition.  See some of the potential candidates are listed below (in no particular order):

Julie

Julie

Julie is a 5 year old Belgian Malinois (Belgische Herder) mix that is about 50 pounds. She is good with everyone– kids, people, and dogs. House and crate trained. She is super sweet and ready to find her forever home!!  What say you, Julie?  Do you want to be the newest member of the Fosterpack?

Sasha

Sasha

Sasha is described as a Labrador Retriever mix about 13 months old.  She is definitely beautiful, but then again we believe all dogs are beautiful!

Sienna

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Sienna is an all natural, red female doberman, two years old & up to date on all shots and heart worm free. High energy girl that loves active interaction with people and other pets. She would do best with younger active or athletic adults.  Sounds like a perfect fit for the Fosterpack!

RileyRiley is one sweet girl! She is very friendly and loves people and other dogs. She enjoys socializing at the dog park and making new friends. Her foster family enjoys taking her to Petsmart to pick out new toys! Riley is great with children, is very well behaved, and is house trained. She is even a friend to felines and would be happy to share a home with cats!  What do you think, Riley?  Do you want to come live with us?

Honey

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Honey is already spayed, house trained, up to date with shots, good with kids, good with dogs, and good with cats.

Sweet Honey was found on Key Biscayne with an embedded collar. The neighbors say she was there for a while with no home. Lucky for her a savior was jogging by and helped her out. Now in foster care Honey is doing very well. She likes the other two dogs in the home and even the cats and kid. We think Honey is a 6-8month old Rhodesian blend with maybe some Lab. She likes to run with her foster mom so she would make an excellent running partner.

Although her description lists her as a Rhodesian blend, we believe that she looks more like a Belgische Herder (Malinois).  No matter what she’s mixed with, there’s no denying that she is one beautiful girl!

Although it’s impossible to tell at this state who will become the newest member of the Fosterpack, once thing is for certain: she will be coming home to her forever family, where she will be loved like no other.

Stay posted as to the outcome of our search.

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Andros Island, Bahamas

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One of the beaches on base here at AUTEC, Andros, Bahamas.

After some much needed time at home, I finally had to bite the bullet and make the drive across the country from Orcutt, CA to West Palm Beach, FL.  From there, I caught a small plane to my current duty station on Andros Island, Bahamas where I am assigned as the Officer in Charge of the Security Detachment at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC).

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One of the beaches here on base at AUTEC, Andros, Bahamas.

Andros is a beautiful island that is [fortunately] not plagued by tourists, although that may leave some of the younger, single Sailors assigned here wanting for a bit more.  In any case, it seems to be a pretty nice place, at least so far — I have yet to experience a summer here, with all the humidity and bugs that go with it. The base itself is small, but I will have plenty to keep me busy, which is a good thing.

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One of the beaches here on base at AUTEC, Andros, Bahamas.

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One of the beaches here on base at AUTEC, Andros, Bahamas.

I have yet to receive my household goods that I shipped from the Netherlands, but as soon as I get them, I plan on flying back to CA in order to bring Libby and Molly out here with me.  They should really enjoy it, with all the beautiful, deserted beaches.  I must admit that life is pretty lonely without Debbie and the dogs, but having the Twins (Libby and Molly) here will make it better and I’m sure that Debbie will visit at some point in the future.

One of the beaches here on base at AUTEC, Andros, Bahamas.

One of the beaches here on base at AUTEC, Andros, Bahamas.

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Home on Leave

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Stan, Libby, and Molly after a hike in the Orcutt Hills near our home.

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Hannah in our living room. You can also see Stan’s head in the picture.

During September and October of this year, I spent some time at home while on leave in between duty stations.  Although I spent a good bit of this time completing a couple of major projects around the house, I was still able to spend some much-needed time with Debbie and the dogs — and it was fantastic.

It had been one year since I’d last been home, so it was long overdue.  We spent time hiking and playing with the dogs, as well as some good old down time, just lying around the house.  I was also able to grow out my beard while home, something I enjoy, but normally don’t have the opportunity to do while working.  While I enjoyed it thoroughly, like all time at home, it seemed to go all too fast.

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Debbie and me, while hiking with Stan, Libby, and Molly in the Orcutt Hills near our home.

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Arno signing a kettle at Teakettle Junction in the Death Valley National Park, CA.

While there, I was also able to spend some time with my good friend, Arno, who came to visit for a short period.  Arno worked for me for three years as a driver for the U.S. Defense Attaché Office, while I was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands.

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The kettle Arno signed at Teakettle Junction in the Death Valley National Park, CA.

During his visit, we took a camping trip and spent time in the Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon National Park, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and the Death Valley National Park.

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“The Fosterpack was here…well, part of us anyway.” That’s the message I left on a kettle at Teakettle Junction in the Death Valley National Park, CA. I had to leave our mark there and left the address to our website, as well. We’ll see if anyone visits the site after seeing the writing on the kettle.

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The famous “wandering rocks” of Racetrack Flats in the Death Valley National Park, CA.

Joshua Tree was wild…like being on another planet.  The Grand Canyon and Death Valley were also amazing, but although beautiful, some of the ledges at the Grand Canyon were super sketchy.  There are people who die each year from falling over the edge, or from ledges giving way.  There was definitely a pucker-factor involved with standing near the edge.  Arno and I enjoyed some good laughs together over some of those moments.

I long for the day when I can retire and finally be at home for good; it will be nice to be able to finally keep my beard, too.

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Arno sitting on a ledge on the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. Sketchy to say the least.

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Me standing on a ledge on the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon…this was definitely one of those pucker-factor moments, especially considering the wind was blowing in such a way that it pulled you toward the ledge.

Although that day still remains some eight years in the future, it is one that I will look forward to each day until it finally arrives.

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