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And, they call it puppy love…LITERALLY!

by Vaun Thygerson
Staff writer and mother of three

And, they call it puppy love…LITERALLY!   I did not grow up with dogs.  In fact, I didn’t own my first dog until I was 23 years old.  My first puppy was a Pug named Tonka.  He was a snorting, shedding, sniffing pup with a squished-in face that only his owner could love; but when I needed a pick-me-up, he was always there.  He accompanied me everywhere, usually dressed in some ridiculously over-the-top outfit or wearing his black leather jacket, but always in style.  Tonka was my first case of puppy love, and my experience with him set me on a life-long path of being a dog lover.  Charles Schulz said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”  He hit the nail on the head with that quote!  

Since Tonka, I’ve had two other dogs – Roxy and Max.  Roxy was a gorgeous boxer that was gentle, sweet, and loveable especially when it came to my kids.  She was an angel!  

Nowadays, our family has a black standard poodle named Max who seems like a really big dog, but he’s mostly just a giant poof ball.  He’s smart, fun, obedient, and very protective.  A perfect fit for our family, Max really does add a lot of pleasure and companionship to our lives.  I will admit it, he’s not perfect – he’s a chew-a-holic.  Even at five years old, we have to keep certain things out of his reach. When he was little, I had to replace several shoes of mine, not to mention a few friends’ shoes that he ate while they were visiting. But, most recently, he somehow found my very expensive dental mouthguard and chewed it into tiny pieces.  Why do we forgive???  It must be puppy love!    

This month is all about love.  Whether we are showing our affection to our dogs, family members, spouses, or children, February 14th marks the day we express these sentiments. We make extra special plans for the loved ones in our lives – homemade treats, cards, chocolates, flowers, stuffed animals.

One of the best ways to show love is through charitable acts.  Check out the article, “Liberty High School Students Make a Difference in Honduras,” on page 10 to read about three girls who spent a week on a service mission trip helping out the less fortunate.  Thanks to sisters Julia Morris and Jayne Morris, and their cousin, Kira Morris, for sharing their amazing story and pictures with KCFM.  The trip helped a lot of people, and all three girls said it changed them for the better, too!  

In her monthly column, Tracie Grimes’s Humor at Home article, “At Wit’s End,” on page 18, she writes about how easily depression can creep up on us.  One of the best ways to stave off these unwanted feelings she says is laughter.  She writes about her dog, whose name also happens to be Max, and how he provides their family with some much-needed comic relief.  

Also, in her February book recommendations, “Proven Tips:  How to Raise a Reader,” on page 19, she writes about strategies you can use to ensure your children learn to love reading.  Some of the books she recommends include “One Gorilla:  A Counting Book” by Anthony Browne, “I Funny:  A Middle School Story” by James Patterson, and “Big Nate Flips Out” by Lincoln Pierce.  And, for moms, she says John Grisham’s newest legal thriller, “The Racketeer,” keeps the pages turning with suspenseful twists.

 Take some time this month to show those in your life how much they mean to you - make a homemade dinner, whip up a batch of cookies, write a poem, or buy your puppy his favorite bone!  

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

P.S.  Oops!  In January’s issue, we made a mistake in our Private School Survey Guide.  Both Olive Knolls Christian Schools and Heritage Christian Schools/Readyland Preschools should have been listed as accredited.  In our Educational Resources, San Joaquin Valley College’s address should have read 201 New Stine Road, Phone # 834-0126.  Also, in the Party Directory, Dewar’s should have been listed as “Dewar’s Soda Fountain and Fine Candies.”

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