Category: Technology

Back in business!

Of trees and internet services!

The weather at 6am didn’t bode well with a brisk wind blowing clouds across the summit of Mt. Sexton.

Lyman from Liberty Tree Enterprises arrived bright and early on Wednesday morning to set about felling the dead fir close to the North-East corner of our rear deck.

It was this dead fir, pictured to the left, that had had the wireless antenna installed on it soon after we moved in to Merlin, OR, back in 2012.

How the day would go was a bit of a guessing game: Would we need a new antenna because it would be broken when the tree hit the ground?; Would Outreach be out to see us reasonably soon after we called them to say that the tree was down?; Would there be complications that were unforeseen at this early stage of the ‘project’?

Well we wouldn’t have long to find out.

Lyman and his assistant were very careful in ensuring that the face of the cut, that would direct exactly where the tree fell, was aligned perfectly. I was very impressed with the care and attention put into this aspect of the felling process.

Then it was time to make the cut on the other side of the trunk and hammer in the wedges that would cause the tree to fall. At one point there was a gust of wind that had the tall trunk rocking on the base. We all held our breath.

But at 09:33 down it came!

Down it came perfectly. (Later I counted the rings to discover that the tree was 65 years old!)

Then it was a case of cutting off all the limbs and shredding them up on site. Inevitably the dogs took an interest!

Here’s Cleo making friends with Lyman.

On to stage two.

Outreach had been called and to our great relief we were told that Doug and Jennifer, the Outreach rigging crew, should be along later in the afternoon.

The two of them arrived and quickly established that the existing antenna had survived the drop!

Therefore, it wasn’t long before Doug was climbing another fir also conveniently close to the deck.

Doug earning his living big time!

And within the hour it was time to power up the router, switch on my iMAC and test for a signal!

The old antenna installed in its new home!

Yes!

All was working and working well.

As you good people will understand it was too late in the day to sort out a post for yesterday.

Plus I needed a few hours to catch up on emails and stuff and then sort out the photographs that I had taken that day.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I sat down and ‘penned’ today’s post for you all.

 

Well done Liberty Tree and well done Outreach!

That new EU law regarding data compliance!

Sorry but I need to join the crowd!

That is the crowd of emails that you and I have been receiving regarding the new GDPR law. The new law that is effective from today.

As a recent BBC video explains:

What is GDPR? Technology explained

A new EU law that changes how companies use our personal information kicks in on 25 May.

The BBC’s Chris Foxx explains what GDPR is and how it will affect you.

Then there is this YouTube video:

Finally, here’s an extract from a recent Firefox blog post:

1. The General Data Protection Regulation gives the European Union the power to hold businesses and organizations accountable for how they collect and handle personal data — your data.

Businesses and organizations have had two years to get ready. This wasn’t a sneak attack by the European institutions. The GDPR went on the books in May 2016, giving anyone who collects customer data plenty of time to prepare.

2. Even though it’s driven out of Europe, the GDPR impacts the whole world.

If you live outside of Europe, you’re probably wondering what a European law has to do with you. Thanks to something called “territorial scope,” any organization that deals with data of EU residents must comply with the GDPR for those individuals, which impacts global organizations like Apple and Facebook. Even though they are not strictly required, some organizations are taking a principled (and perhaps easier) approach, providing the same set of controls and protections to non-EU residents.

3. It’s filling up in your inbox.

We’ve all been bombarded with emails about updated privacy policies and terms of service. It’s (mostly) not fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s because organizations are getting their policies and practices into GDPR compliance. Bonus points: All those emails are a hint to disconnect from services you’ve forgotten about.

Now this is where it gets complicated.

For while there is a WordPress plugin that is supposed to ensure that this WordPress blog conforms, whatever that implies, to the requirements of the new law I am not able to download it without upgrading the blog to Business Plan. As I am already paying to be a Premium WordPress user I object to shelling out more money just now.

So if there is any aspect of being a subscriber to Learning from Dogs that you do not like then please unsubscribe.

As I learn how other blog authors are dealing with the issue then I will let you know if there are any changes that I need to make.

Any advice or suggestions regarding this new law would be most welcome!

The continuing fallout from Chernobyl

Will you, please, consider taking one of these puppies!

I closed last Saturday’s post with this plea: “If only there wasn’t a single dog in need of adoption in the world!

That plea is being used to introduce today’s post. An article that was recently read on the Smart News section from The Smithsonian magazine website.

I have republished it, hopefully without infringing copyrights, because it’s a story that needs to be circulated as far and wide as possible.

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Chernobyl Puppies Going Up for Adoption in the U.S.

Now in quarantine, the pups are expected to come to the U.S. this summer in search of their forever homes.

Please for to adopt us, Comrade. (Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Authority)
By Jason Daley smithsonian.com , May 16, 2018

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant melted down, sending nearby residents fleeing the disaster zone. And sadly, most pets got left behind. Over the last 32 years, the surviving pups have multiplied, creating a community of hundreds that live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and another 250 that live on the grounds of the former power plant itself.

Now, a dozen of those homeless puppies will head to the United States for adoption, reports Matt Novak at Gizmodo.

According to the Russian website Meduza, Ukrainian authorities have captured 200 of the stray Chernobyl puppies. They are currently keeping them in a 45-day quarantine in the city of Slavutych, and then a dozen will be shipped to the United States.

“We have rescued the first puppies, they are now in our adoption shelter going through the quarantine and decontamination process,” Lucas Hixson, co-founder of the U.S.-based Clean Futures Fund, a non-profit created to take care of Chernobyl clean-up workers, their families and the dogs tells Novak. “The goal is 200 dogs but will likely be more in the long run. My hope is to get 200 dogs rescued and adopted in the next 18 months and then go from there.”

The pups have a heartbreaking story, as The Guardian’s Julie McDowell detailed earlier this year. During the evacuation, more than 120,000 people were herded onto buses to escape the meltdown of the Unit 4 reactor, leaving most of their valuables and their pets behind. Many dogs tried to follow their owners onto the buses but were kicked off. People left notes on their doors asking authorities not to kill their animals, but Soviet Army squads were dispatched to put down as many contaminated animals as they could find.

Some of the dogs survived the army and the radiation, rebuilding their community as a pack. The Clean Futures Fund reports that the 250 dogs living on the grounds of the former power plant were likely driven out of the surrounding forests by wolves and a lack of food. Another 225 dogs roam Chernobyl City and hundreds of others live and scrounge at security checkpoints and throughout the woods and abandoned communities in the Exclusion Zone. Most of the dogs around the plant are under the age of 4 or 5, and clean-up workers at the site sometimes feed and tend to sick animals.

But last year, after becoming aware of the animals, The Clean Futures Fund decided the pups needed a more permanent solution. That’s why they’ve implemented a three-year program in the Exclusion Zone to spay and neuter 1,000 animals and vaccinate them against rabies. At their first clinic last August, the Fund spayed and neutered 350 dogs and cats in the area. Each animal was tested for radiation, given antibiotics, vaccinated for rabies and microchipped. Each dog’s vital data was also recorded.

For the next clinic scheduled for June, the Fund has also partnered with researchers from the University of South Carolina. The team will study the dogs for signs of radiation poisoning as well as genetic damage and disruptions to the dogs’ microbiomes, reports Mary Katherine Wildeman at The Post and Courier. The team will sedate the dogs and look for tumors and cataracts, which can signal radiation poisoning.

Understanding the impacts of radiation exposure is becoming increasingly important, says Timothy Mousseau, a researcher who has studied radiation in the birds, insects and small animals of Chernobyl and will lead the project. Exposure rates in daily life from medical treatments and other sources are on the rise, with the average yearly dose Americans receive doubling in the last 20 years alone.

There is no word when or where the dozen Chernobyl pups will go up for adoption. But even if you’re not lucky enough to have one of the reminders of Soviet-era nuclear power at the foot of your bed, it’s still possible to see the place for yourself and hand out treats to some of the remaining pups. There’s a booming tourism industry in the area to visit the eerie ghost towns and surprisingly quiet and beautiful green space that has overtaken the Zone.

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I am going to contact The Clean Futures Fund to see how one can register a potential interest in taking one of these puppies.

In the meantime, is there any reader who would be interested in having a puppy? Send me an email if so.

Things!

And I am not speaking of things that go bump in the night!

I switched from being a Microsoft Windows user to a Mac some time ago.

Apple products are not the cheapest by a very long shot but their operating systems are fabulous. So it was natural to follow-up having an iMac by getting myself an iPAD.

Not too many months ago I came across an application for the Apple Mac and iPAD that is called Things. As the website explains:

Things is the award-winning personal task manager that helps you achieve your goals.

This all-new version has been rethought from the ground up: it’s got an all-new design, delightful new interactions, and powerful new features.

I started off getting to know the app on the Mac and very quickly found it so useful and with such a clear and intuitive ‘user interface’ that I downloaded the version for the iPAD.

Here’s the little intro video that is on the Things website (and, please, understand that this review of this app is purely because of my own personal experience and has no connection whatsoever with the firm).

So if you are finding that keeping track of your to-do lists is becoming a bit of a headache and you are a MAC or iOS user, as in Apple MAC, iPad, iPhone or Apple Watch, then I really do recommend taking a closer look. Done so easily by looking at the features in the all-new Things!

Plus, the Things team offer great support!

For as Henry Ford is reputed to have said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” (Thanks BrainyQuote.)

UPDATE: In the last 72 hours I received a newly-ordered iPhone and Apple Watch. The iPhone has had the Things 3 application installed upon it and, hey presto!, my watch now reminds me of the things coming up; even when the phone is some distance away from where I am. Plus it does tell the time rather accurately!!

Ghosts

Here’s that article I wanted to share with you.

But then I got sucked back to memories of sailing!!

Oregon’s lighthouses as recently published over on Mother Nature Network!

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The tallest lighthouse in Oregon has a haunted history

Yet there is more to Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport than these ghostly stories.


JAYMI HEIMBUCH   February 16, 2018

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon has a long history, which of course means rumors of ghosts and hauntings. (Photo: P Meybruck/Shutterstock)

On a scenic basalt rock headland that juts almost a mile into the Pacific Ocean stands a beautiful white lighthouse. At 93 feet tall, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, located in Newport, Oregon, is the state’s tallest lighthouse. It’s been guiding ships for 145 years.

First lit on August 20, 1873, the lighthouse has gained quite the storied history. And that includes two ghost stories.

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is one of two in Newport, Oregon. (Photo: Dee Browning/Shutterstock)

One tale tells of a construction worker helping to build the tower who fell to his death. His body lodged between the double walls, never to be retrieved. He — and his ghost — have been sealed in ever since.

The second story is that in the 1920s, Keeper Smith went into town and left Keeper Higgins in charge. But Higgins fell sick and asked Keeper Story to take over. When Smith saw from Newport that the lighthouse beacon wasn’t lit, he rushed back to find Higgins dead and Story drunk. Story, overtaken with guilt, feared the ghost of Higgins and from then on would take his bulldog up the tower with him.

A view from the northern side of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. (Photo: Jeremy Klager/Shutterstock)

As with most ghost stories, the authenticity of these is highly doubted. The first story is unauthenticated, and the second story is impossible. As Lighthouse Friends clarifies:

A great tale, but unfortunately not supported by the facts that Story and Higgins didn’t serve at the same time at Yaquina Head and Higgins didn’t meet his demise in the tower. Rather, Higgins left the Lighthouse Service before 1920 and returned to live with his mother in Portland. Second Assistant Keeper did die of a heart attack in the watchroom atop the tower in March 1921, but he too served before the arrival of Frank Story.

aquina Head Lighthouse stands tall under big cloudy skies. (Photo: haveseen/Shutterstock)

Fortunately, much more than ghosts can be seen at Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse stands on what is now the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, one of the most spectacular

spots on the coast for viewing ocean wildlife such as sea birds and harbor seals at close range, as well as traipsing through tide pools at low tide. An interpretive center highlights information about these wild inhabitants and features exhibits on the historical details of the lighthouse.

Yaquina Head lighthouse by the Oregon Coast during a beautiful sunset. (Photo: RuthChoi/Shutterstock)

The original oil-powered light has given way to an automated first-order Fresnel lens and a 1,000-watt globe. It flashes with its own specific pattern: two seconds on, two off, two on, and 14 off. The pattern is repeated around the clock.

May the lighthouse stand tall for generations to come. (Photo: Tomas Nevesely/Shutterstock)

While a little illumination causes the ghost stories to fade, visitors can still see a lot with a visit to Yaquina Head. Whether it’s grey whales at close range during their migration, or the sun setting over the ocean and silhouetting the tall structure, visitors are always happy they stopped to take in both the scene and the history of this special place.

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I really hope that despite the advance of digital GPS navigation systems it will still be a very long time before these magnificent lighthouses are turned off!

Our internet safety!

Completely overwhelmed by all you wonderful followers.

Yesterday, around mid-morning time, the number of good persons who are following this blog reached 3,000!

That is both wonderful and hugely generous of each and every one of you that ‘subscribes’ to this place.

I was going to publish another guest post but will delay that for twenty-four hours.

For as a mark of respect for all of you online people who have signed up to follow Learning from Dogs I want to republish a recent item that appeared on The Conversation site.

Here it is. Republished within the terms of The Conversation.

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Improve your internet safety: 4 essential reads

by    Science + Technology Editor, The Conversation US

On Feb. 6, technology companies, educators and others mark Safer Internet Day and urge people to improve their online safety. Many scholars and academic researchers around the U.S. are studying aspects of cybersecurity and have identified ways people can help themselves stay safe online. Here are a few highlights from their work.

1. Passwords are a weakness

With all the advice to make passwords long, complex and unique – and not reused from site to site – remembering passwords becomes a problem, but there’s help, writes Elon University computer scientist Megan Squire:

“The average internet user has 19 different passwords. … Software can help! The job of password management software is to take care of generating and remembering unique, hard-to-crack passwords for each website and application.”

That’s a good start.

2. Use a physical key

To add another layer of protection, keep your most important accounts locked with an actual physical key, writes Penn State-Altoona information sciences and technology professor Jungwoo Ryoo:

“A new, even more secure method is gaining popularity, and it’s a lot like an old-fashioned metal key. It’s a computer chip in a small portable physical form that makes it easy to carry around. The chip itself contains a method of authenticating itself.”

Just don’t leave your keys on the table at home.

3. Protect your data in the cloud

Many people store documents, photos and even sensitive private information in cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud. That’s not always the safest practice because of where the data’s encryption keys are stored, explains computer scientist Haibin Zhang at University of Maryland, Baltimore County:

“Just like regular keys, if someone else has them, they might be stolen or misused without the data owner knowing. And some services might have flaws in their security practices that leave users’ data vulnerable.”

So check with your provider, and consider where to best store your most important data.

4. Don’t forget about the rest of the world

Sadly, in the digital age, nowhere is truly safe. Jeremy Straub from North Dakota State University explains how physical objects can be used to hijack your smartphone:

“Attackers may find it very attractive to embed malicious software in the physical world, just waiting for unsuspecting people to scan it with a smartphone or a more specialized device. Hidden in plain sight, the malicious software becomes a sort of ‘sleeper agent’ that can avoid detection until it reaches its target.”

It’s a reminder that using the internet more safely isn’t just a one-day effort.

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So be safe all of you! It’s a very different world to that of twenty or more years ago!

Surfacing to a new world!

Slowly returning to normal!

As many of you read, last Friday I was discharged from the PeaceHealth Sacred Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon and returned home around 4pm.

It was quite a week as these photos demonstrate. (The background to the event is here and here.)

How I looked still in ICU on Boxing Day. Photo taken by neighbour Dordie who came up with Jeannie to visit me!
General view of a very happy chap!
Photo taken on last Wednesday after I had been transferred to the Department of Neurology.

So!!

It is important that I take it very gently and that means, inevitably, that my blogging is going to be very ad-hoc. Possibly for a few weeks!

The next important step is returning to the hospital this coming Wednesday to have the staples removed and a further cognitive check.

But I shall be OK and thank you all for your interest and concern in my escapade!

All of the dogs, especially Brandy and Cleo, are watching over me! (Over and beyond being loved beyond measure by Jeannie!)

Brandy – as pure as it gets!
Cleo living, and sleeping, in the present moment.

A Very Happy New Year to you all!

Consuming the living planet.

The eating habits of us humans have to change!

Funny how things go!

For just two days ago I published a post under the heading of Meat is Heat. It featured an essay by Michael Greger. He of the website NutritionFacts.org. That essay promoted the message:

What we eat may have more of an impact on global warming than what we drive.

Just cutting out animal protein intake one day of the week could have a powerful effect. Meatless Mondays alone could beat out a whole week of working from home and not commuting.

Many of you read that post.

On the same day that I published that post, George Monbiot published an article in The Guardian newspaper that offered the same message, albeit coming at it from a different place but nonetheless just as critically important.

Here it is republished with Mr. Monbiot’s very kind permission.

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We Can’t Keep Eating Like This

This is the question everyone should be attending to – where is the food going to come from?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2017

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is not because I don’t care – I care very much. It’s only because I have a bigger question on my mind. Where is the food going to come from?

By mid-century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil. The UN’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the world’s croplands.

Now consider water loss. In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India – among the world’s critical growing regions – levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in South Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by 2050. Where will it come from?

The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree Celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. This could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4°C of warming in the US Corn Belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely-tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But that’s viable only for the most expensive crops.

Then there are the structural factors. Because they tend to use more labour, grow a wider range of crops and work the land more carefully, small farmers, as a rule, grow more food per hectare than large ones. In the poorer regions of the world, people with less than 5 hectares own 30% of the farmland but produce 70% of the food. Since 2000, an area of fertile ground roughly twice the size of the United Kingdom has been seized by land grabbers and consolidated into large farms, generally growing crops for export rather than the food needed by the poor.

While these multiple disasters unfold on land, the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global seagrab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. Around 3 billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

All this would be hard enough. But as people’s incomes increase, their diet tends to shift from plant protein to animal protein. World meat production has quadrupled in 50 years, but global average consumption is still only half that of the UK – where we eat roughly our bodyweight in meat every year – and just over a third of the US level. Because of the way we eat, the UK’s farmland footprint (the land required to meet our demand) is 2.4 times the size of its agricultural area. If everyone aspires to this diet, how do we accommodate it?

The profligacy of livestock farming is astonishing. Already, 36% of the calories grown in the form of grain and pulses – and 53% of the protein – are used to feed farm animals. Two-thirds of this food is lost in conversion from plant to animal. A graph produced last week by Our World in Data suggests that, on average, you need 0.01m2 of land to produce a gram of protein from beans or peas, but 1m2 to produce it from beef cattle or sheep: a difference of 100-fold.

It’s true that much of the grazing land occupied by cattle and sheep cannot be used to grow crops. But it would otherwise have sustained wildlife and ecosystems. Instead, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other lifeforms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places – such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil – are laid waste to make room for yet more cattle.

Because there is not enough land to meet both need and greed, a global transition to eating animals means snatching food from the mouths of the poor. It also means the ecological cleansing of almost every corner of the planet.

The shift in diets would be impossible to sustain even if there were no growth in the human population. But the greater the number of people, the greater the hunger meat eating will cause. From a baseline of 2010, the UN expects meat consumption to rise by 70% by 2030 (this is three times the rate of human population growth). Partly as a result, the global demand for crops could double (from the 2005 baseline) by 2050. The land required to grow them does not exist.

When I say this keeps me up at night, I mean it. I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape from grey wastes, being beaten back by armed police. I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna – lions, elephants, whales and tuna – vanishing. And when I wake, I cannot assure myself that it was just a nightmare.

Other people have different dreams: the fantasy of a feeding frenzy that need never end, the fairytale of reconciling continued economic growth with a living world. If humankind spirals into societal collapse, these dreams will be the cause.

There are no easy answers, but the crucial change is a shift from an animal to a plant-based diet. All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels could provide enough calories for another 4 billion people and double the protein available for human consumption. Artificial meat will help: one paper suggests it reduces water use by at least 82% and land use by 99%.

The next Green Revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

http://www.monbiot.com

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As many of you know Jeannie and I changed our diet to a vegan diet some four weeks ago. It was done more for personal health reasons than from an awareness of the difference that it made to the future of the planet. But over the last few weeks we have had our eyes opened to the broader benefits of not eating meat. George Monbiot spells out the urgency of change for all of us, especially the richer people in the richer countries.

Am I hopeful that there will be a mass awareness of the need to change? I truly just don’t know. I will close be repeating Mr. Monbiot’s closing sentence.

Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

Interesting times!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-Four

Playing games with the camera.

I am a great supporter of the wonderful photography forum Ugly Hedgehog. I was grumbling the other day that despite me having had my Nikon D750 for some months now I was still struggling to know how to use it properly. One of the wise birds, JD750, on the Forum said (in part):

“Sit down and read the manual, from page 1 to the end, with the camera in your lap.”

That’s what I have been doing and, oh my goodness, has it helped. Here are just a few photographs taken in the last week as a result of me reading the manual.

Firstly, some from outside around the house all with a bit of an autumnal feel to them.

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Then a pic of Ben out in the paddock early on a rather brisk last Friday morning.

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Experimenting with aperture-priority shot when sitting more-or-less in front of the wood stove one afternoon last week.

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Plus some photographs from August of this year. Still using the Nikon but relying much more of the ‘automatic’ settings. Still neat photos in my opinion.

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What’s that saying about when all else fails read the manual!

It’s holiday time again

For our beloved dogs!

It’s a rare week when I don’t receive an email from a person representing an organisation that would like a mention here. That’s how it was a couple of weeks ago. In to my inbox came:

Hi Paul,

I hope this finds you well! My name is Sam and I’m a Community Marketing Manager at Rover.com–the nation’s largest online network of pet sitters.

While checking out your website, I was really taken by the DIY content and all of your fun and creative ideas. At Rover, we like to get creative too with everything from making your own dog treats, to celebrating custom dog houses.

It seems that your audience would like to learn more about DIY ideas for their dogs–affordable, adorable, and creative! Please let me know if you’re interested in getting some free DIY content from Rover. I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Sam

I responded along the lines of not really wanting to be seen supporting this or that company when I had no experience or knowledge of what they were selling. Sam was very sensitive to that position and we agreed on the following guest post format. In other words, I was happy to allow the link to Rover.com in return for what I thought was a guest post that would be helpful to many readers.

Let me know, dear reader, if this is acceptable to you or whether you would prefer no ‘commercial’ contributions at all in this place.

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DIY Holiday Gifts for your Pup

by Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest

The holidays are just around the corner, and there’s no need to go broke this year. If you love to spoil everyone in the house including your pups this season, consider a few DIY projects so you can celebrate without breaking the bank! Whether you’ve got lots of time to create a gift or just a few hours, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing…

Fleece for Peace & Winter Gear

It’s time to make peace with winter and snuggle in for the season. Check out these winter gear doggie gift ideas:

  • What better way to get cozy than with fleece?! Grab a sewing pattern for a doggie jacket and roll out the fleece! Pick out your favorite holiday fleece pattern and get your dog fancy for holiday pictures.
  • Buy a little extra fleece and measure out your dog’s bed. Make a holiday duvet cover or throw blanket for their naps this winter.
  • More into knitting? Grab some wool or alpaca yarn for a doggie scarf or sweater. Alpaca is super warm and hypoallergenic if your dog gets itchy with wool.
  • If you’ve got a small dog, check out the baby clothing section for winter attire. You should find a few flannels onsies that will fit!

Personalize and Seasonalize your Doggie Decor

There’s nothing sweeter than a little doggie decorating this time of year. Consider these seasonal gifts for your pup:

  • Search your local craft store for a simple screen printing kit and go crazy. Screen print your holiday photo on the canvas bag you keep doggie toys in or create a seasonal design to screen print on patches of fabric for a quilted doggie blanket.
  • Embroider it! Get out your needle and thread for an embroidery project. Pick out a new towel that you toss in the back of the car for dog park adventures and stitch your dog’s name on it.
  • Create a seasonal leash cover (or collar cover) by sewing a few strands of holiday fabric inside out. Flip the fabric to the right side and iron on letters to spell out your dog’s favorite nickname! Then, thread your leash through the fabric for your next winter walk.
  • If you love holiday baking, get out the flour, oats, and peanut butter to bake homemade dog treats! There are tons of great recipes online–or just buy a pack of dog treats and mix up a dog-friendly frosting. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of tapioca starch and ¾ cup of honey (or maple). Let it thicken in the fridge and then frost your dog treats! If your dog won’t go nuts, tie 12 treats to the tree like ornaments and celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with a doggie reward each day!

We hope you’ll enjoy one of these fun DIY projects this year. There’s nothing better than a happy pup during your holiday festivities!

More about Tracy. Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest is a Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

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So good people, was this useful for you or too close to being a sales proposition? I have to add that I have no personal knowledge or experience of Rover. But did think the content of the article was of interest to you all.