Antlers for Dogs and Puppies

We all love our pets because for most of us they are part of our family. Our puppy, Pumpkin, turned a year old a few days ago. So, we decided to celebrate her birthday by purchasing some presents for her. We took Pumpkin to one of the local pet stores and bought for her some toys and also treats. Among the toys that we got for her, we purchased a deer antler. Pumpkin loves to chew, and one thing that she adores to chew is the deer antler.

What are antlers? Why do dogs like them?
I teach about antlers in a couple of my courses, so I know a lot about their biological composition and zoological history. One thing that is clear is that antlers are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous. Contrary to horns, antlers are normally present in males except for caribous (also called reindeers) where both genders have antlers. Since they are made entirely of bone, dogs found antlers particularly tasty - explaining why they love to chew them. Although some companies offer "flavored" antlers, natural flavors are usually sufficient.

But are there any other benefits? Most of the nutrients found in antlers are usually found in any good quality commercial dog food. Thus, dogs don't need the nutrients provided by antlers. But, for domestic dogs, who often suffer from boredom, chewing on a hard substance such as an antler could be a relaxing and recreational activity. From what we are seeing with Pumpkin, antlers can be a good chew toy for puppies.  This being said you need to make certain that you find the right size (i.e., slightly larger than the mouth of your pup). The size will provide them a challenge by being a little large, while also minimizing any choking risks.

Arguments against the use of antlers for dogs and puppies

While rare, there is a possibility of cracking when chewing a deer antler or elk antler dog treat. Because of this, it is usually recommended supervision while feeding a dog with antlers. It's always important to ensure that they are sufficiently large to minimize any accidents. If cracking occurs or only a swallowable piece remains, you should discard the small pieces.

In the end, we only regret the chances that we didn't take...

For an inexplicable reason, most of us need to experience difficult moments to realize that life gives us many opportunities to laugh, love and enjoy this wonderful world. Most of us spend our lives rejecting those opportunities that really count. Why? Perhaps, we think that there will be other opportunities or there will always be a second chance.

The problem is that, unfortunately, we don't always get a second is unpredictable. Sometimes, a chance to spend a special moment with someone or an opportunity to experience something special only presents to us once. 

Value what you have now, don't have regrets...

My top 5 challenges when trying to find time for myself

Writing blog posts has become a real challenge. Why? Simple reason...I can't find time for myself.

Don't get me wrong, I have a wonderful husband who does a lot of things for the house, our kids, and our pet. He and I take turns to do household- and other family-related duties. But, there is simply no time to rest or for ourselves.

It's very difficult to find time to do other things than the usual family-related responsibilities. All of the planning and organization in the world appear insufficient to make certain that I stay on schedule (i.e., do all that needs to be done daily) and protect time for myself. 

Moms should have at least 15-20 minutes of "me" time daily

According to Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (author of "Hidden Feelings of Motherhood"), Moms need time to decompress, especially between afternoons and evenings. Furthermore, the author also indicates that about once weekly, Moms need a longer block of time to get out and do something for themselves. 

Of course, I know that I am the only Mom facing this problem - especially when you have small children. So, it's not surprising that most of the issues that "eat" my time are directly or indirectly related to my responsibilities as a parent. 

What do I during the weekends? Could the weekend help me deal with my challenges?

The weekends are supposed to be there for relaxing, enjoying time and having fun. I wish I could say that we spent our weekends doing all these things. Unfortunately, it is usually not our case. Yes, of course, we do try to do fun activities during the weekends, and it's true that some weekends are a little relaxing - but, most are not!

So, what are we doing wrong? how can we make our weeks better? 

My tips to deal with the Laundry

In our house, it takes days to get the laundry done. For some reason, I have never been particularly organized when dealing with laundry issues. For instance, I usually wait until the weekend to do the laundry and spend part of my Sunday afternoon (or evening) folding drives me crazy!

Often, the unfolded clothes would stay, all wrinkled, in the laundry baskets for days. My biggest challenge is without any doubt the folding part of the job. Other times, I leave the clothes in the washer machine and forget to transfer the wet clothes to the dryer.  When I finally remember to transfer the clothes, it is often too late...I ended re-washing the load. 

Why do I find myself in this situation? 

I often have to deal/do other things during the weekend, including shopping, family/children activities and, of course, work-related responsibilities. It takes days to get the laundry done. Then, when you think that is done, you realize that the laundry baskets are full again. 

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to be a little bit more organized and efficient with my time. I dislike the idea of spending part of my sending folding clothes. But, the task needs to be done whether I like it or not. So, after trying different things, here are some tricks/tips that I am currently using to be more organized with the laundry.

Tips to Help me Deal with the Laundry

1. A laundry basket or hamper in each bedroom. This has been a good financial investment - although it may not work for some people, it works well in our house. Of course, my kids forget sometimes to empty their hampers. But, the important issue for me is that all the laundry is in a hamper - so, all I need to do is to empty the hampers when they don't do it.

2. Do the laundry 2-3 per week. This is essential! The weeks that I don't do at least one laundry load in the middle of the week, I am in big trouble.  

3. Use the "delay end time" function of the washer.  With this function, I can control the time when clothes would be ready to be transferred to the dryer. 

4. Set an alarm (with my iPhone) to tell me when the washer cycle is done. Our washer and dryer are in the basement, so even though both machines have a sound alarm when cycles are completed, we often don't hear them. But, if I use my phone's alarm, then I can easily hear the ring!

5. Wash less by forcing my son to re-use pants, tennis clothes and pajamas. Other members of the house understand that clothes don't always need to be washed after used only once. But, my 8-year son still needs to work on this.  

6. Fold laundry near bedrooms. Let's face it, most of what I wash every week are clothes, towels, and bed linen. Most of these items usually need to go back to bedrooms, so by folding clothes near bedrooms, I tend to place them right away in drawers and closets.

My Life as a "Tennis Mom"...I love it!

I have become a "tennis Mom" - and I love it! 

My 8-year old son is spending 7-8 hours weekly training and playing tennis. Since January 2017, he has participated in several local and regional tennis tournaments and is really loving that. 

I have to say that I was initially reluctant to the idea of him participating in tennis competitions. I mean, he was only 7 years old last year when he participated in his first competition! He had just recently started to train seriously (if we can use the word seriously for a 7 years old!) when his coach suggested to register him in an interprovincial 4 stars competition.

My husband and I talked with my son and let him make the decision. He was excited about the idea of participating in a tournament even though he knew that his chances to win a match were very low. From my side, I was very concerned and scared that he will not want to play tennis anymore after losing his first match (possibly without winning a single point).

But, I was totally wrong. Yes, he did lose all his matches (although he did win a couple of games in one of them), but his reaction to these loses was so mature and realistic for his age. He was very proud of himself and the points that he won, he knew that he needed more training & more importantly, he was not discouraged and actually said to us "so, when is the next tournament"! I really admire my son because I am not certain that, myself, I would have reacted so maturely at his age. Let's face it - he was only 7 years old! 

It's admirable to see how young kids, like my son, could be so dedicated and focused.

I keep thinking that having play dates with friends, going to birthday parties or simply playing video games (even though I like this one less) is more interesting than being at the tennis courts for hours (sometimes under difficult weather conditions!). But, since that first tournament last year, my son has decided that tennis is his sport and that he will be committing 7-8 hours per week to training. 

As parents, I feel that our main role is to provide a strong emotional support to him. Tennis is a very important part of my son's life, but IT'S NOT HIS WHOLE LIFE! His school work, piano lessons, video games, playdate with friends, and family time should still play a fundamental role his life. They are actually essential to ensure that he has the balanced life that a child of his age needs. 

Over the last year, I have learned that the best way to help my son to perform at his own best is by showing him unconditional support 100% of the timeMy son understands that if he wants to improve his performance at tournaments, he needs to train even during the days that he would have preferred to stay home playing video games or watching TV. Thus, it's so important for me to show emotional support and understanding not only during matches or tournaments but also, and especially, during training sessions. He needs those weekly hours of training if he wants to succeed and achieve his goals. 

"Whether you lose or win, we will always be proud of you"

As a tennis Mom, you always need to have the right words to support and encourage your child. There is one particular sentence that my son uses as a motivational mantra:

 "It's not over until is over" 

It's a simple, but a very inspirational sentence that my son heard one day from a TV show. I believe it was a TV show that he was watching in between two tennis matches.

While being realistic about the outcome, we feel that as parents it's our role to help our son identify the things that he did well in a matchWe applaud his hard work, professionalism and positive attitude. We encourage him to be proud of his effort and dedication even when he loses a match. We also feel that it's important to provide him a supportive, but realistic feedback.

I am grateful that my son is giving me the opportunity to be a "tennis Mom". It's a new phase in my life and so far, I am enjoying it very much! 

Yes, of course, our weeks and weekends are now totally different than they used to be. But, who cares, my son is enjoying the experience of playing competitive tennis and that it's all that it counts for me.

3 tips to become the HERO of your own STORIES and CHANGE your LIFE

Photo by deanj-07 -

I was reading a post that emphasizes the importance of making sure that the stories we tell ourselves are helpful and motivating. In order for us to live our most fulfilled, happiest lives, we need to tell us engaging, motivating and strong stories. The key point is that we need to be the HERO or the MAIN CHARACTER of these stories.

There is no doubt that 
some stories can be motivating while others can be demoralizing. Just think about some of these stories that we tell our children to encourage them to do or achieve something that they find challenging or scarring. Or, the stories that we hear sometimes about people who are hurt, suffering or being abused.

For our kids and those we love, we make a special effort to tell powerful stories with solid arguments, so they feel unique, special or like heroes. 

Clearly, we know that our words could help, but especially have a positive influence on our loved ones. Unfortunately, we frequently forget that the stories we tell ourselves are the most powerful stories of all. The constant repetition of demoralizing stories or negative words that sometimes invade our heads could have devastating effects on our lives, and our ability to achieve happiness. I am not sure why we don't see it clearly, but we will never tell our loved ones the stories that we tell ourselves.


We all know that words can bring someone down pretty quickly. The question is why knowing this, we don't hesitate in telling ourselves discouraging stories. We all have the power to change this - We need to change the stories that we tell ourselves.

Allow yourself to dream big and have big plans - in other words, become the hero of your own stories. This doesn't mean that you cannot look at your life objectively. It just means that you need to find the aspects of your stories that you have the power of changing. You may realize that we can actually change the ending of many of our stories - we can have more happy endings!


Photo by Laura Dahl
Numerous studies have demonstrated that we can activate our brains better if we listen to stories instead of simply visualizing facts.

As an academic, I know that if I want my students to remember something, I need to create a story using the facts. Why? Our brain is wired like that - we tell stories to ourselves continually

The only problem is that we often, tell ourselves the wrong stories! Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways that we have to change our lives because our brains our wired for this. 

Three TIPS

1. If you want to change your life, tell yourself POSITIVE and MOTIVATING STORIES and dream big - achieve your goals in your stories

2. Be persuasive and become the HERO of your own stories. 

3. You have complete control over the stories that you tell yourself. Your brain is wired to LISTEN and BELIEVE to any motivating story that you tell yourself. 

Featured Post

Antlers for Dogs and Puppies