Category Archives: General

Winter Fitness: Dog Treadmills

philgroundhogWinter is dragging on and on…and on.  It seems that our winter-predicting groundhog friend, Punxsutawney Phil, has said another six weeks of this cold, nasty weather that has held the dogs pretty much hostage in the house other than trips to indoor venues and the occasional winter event – like the snow pulls we’ve attended.  The dogs are going stir crazy and all that pent up energy has expressed itself in a few inappropriate actions too since they’ve started to nitpick and nag at each other more than usual.  It’s getting rather old but we thankfully have a few options to exercise not only their minds but their bodies as well – the treadmill.

Thanks to dog owners becoming more and more interested in the fitness of themselves andryker-october2013-4148 their canine companions, finding these types of exercise equipment available is becoming more and more readily available.  Years ago, when I first got into the APBT as a breed enthusiast, having a dog-powered treadmill and the use was often linked by everyday pet owners as a sign of dog fighting.  Thankfully, this is no longer the case and much of the so-called dog fighting propaganda is being realized to be useful for all breeds and types of dogs.

There are many types of treadmills that can be used for dogs.  Some treadmills are dog-powered and others are electric.  I personally prefer the dog-powered variety since it allows the dog to set their pace and not be forced into something that is uncomfortable for them but it can also allow a lazy dog to balk at doing more then they want to – which can be a pain if you have a dog who needs to shed a few extra pounds.

With dog-powered treadmills, there are two varieties that are typically seen – the carpet-type and the slat-type.  The carpet-type tends to be harder to turn and will develop a bunchier, flashier muscling on a dog.  The slat-type is much easier for a dog to move and tends to develop lean muscling which is phenomenal for a dog who needs a boost of endurance.  They both have their pros and their cons and we personally recommend that if you’ve got the room and funds to purchase both and use both in a conditioning regiment that you do that – especially if you have multiple dogs.  There are quite a few dogs who will balk at the use of a carpet mill because of the difficulty level.

lyric-october2013-4167In the case of electric-type treadmills, many people convert humane-designed treadmills for the use with their canine companions but there are other options available which are geared in size and type toward canine companions.  They are free-spinning like the slat-type treadmill and will typically allow for a more lean muscle-type to be created.  For many people, this is the easiest option because you can find inexpensive electric treadmills (often called e-mills) on places like Craigslist for next to nothing.  The only down fall, in my opinion, is that you have to watch and gauge when your dog has had enough and for many dogs that can be a pain since they don’t want to admit to being tired!

There are a few safety and training precautions to remember when using a treadmill with a dog.  Please make sure to read them and follow them for the safety of all involved – especially the dog:

  • No matter which direction you choose to go if you decide to look into a treadmill, you always need to make sure you do slow, positive introductions to the equipment.  Some more sensitive or nervous dogs may be afraid of it at first.  We always recommend teaching a load up onto the treadmill for a few days before turning it on or allowing it to be moved so that they’re able to figure out how to get their feet under them as they jog/run.
  • A well fitting harness that allows for proper breathing ability is also a big requirement because you don’t want your dog to end up short of breath from construction from a connector cutting their airway off from the collar.
  • Always keep it positive and build up your dog.  Don’t expect that they’re going to be able to jog for 30 minutes right off the bat when you couldn’t do it if you weren’t used to it either!

Has this post inspired you to look into treadmills for your dog?  We hope so!  If you are, here are a few companies you can look into for them:

  • Grand Carpet Mill – Carpet-type treadmill, as the name implies.  We have this particular brand and won it in a raffle a few years ago at a dog show.
  • Jog A Dog Treadmill – Electric Treadmill.  It seems to be very spendy.  I’ve seen these in action but not personally used one.
  • Dog Trotter – I’ve heard great reviews on this one.  It’s probably the most commercially available slat-type treadmill out there.

If none of these fit your budgets, there are other manufacturers out there that are easy to track down with Google.  I’ve also seen plans available if you’re a DIY-er and want to try your hand at making your own dog treadmill!  Happy exercising!

Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

This is our second year participating in the annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet and Will My Dog Hate Meas a fun way to explore how things have gone in the past year with wandering through the blog world so…here it goes!


1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

Since May 2011.  I started blogging mostly to talk about my dogs, dog sports, everything related to the American Pit Bull Terrier and all other dog related madness.  The insanity has grown leaps and bounds from there!

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

I created a Facebook page and Twitter account for the blog and am just shy of my goal of 10,000 hits on my blog with 8,463 hits as of the time for writing this blog entry.  I honestly never expected it but I’m pretty darn thrilled since I’m not a big time blog.

3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?

I’ve expanded a lot.  I started doing Shelter Dog Saturday posts because of visiting two local shelters (currently on hiatus due to health constraints sadly but I’ll be back!).  It got me back into the swing of things in the rescue community and gave me a way to give back – especially considering a lot of what I do people thing as only for “show dogs”.

4. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?

Never give up.  You may think your writing will never reach others or do a world of good but it can and it does.  Your posts may not appeal to every single person but there will be even that one person who reads your blog and says, “Crap!  That was a really good idea!” and it helps them in their lives – even in a small portion.

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

Asking for help has always been hard for me to do but I would love to know how other bloggers get sponsors and products to review (we’ve only done one sponsored one thus far thanks to the awesome folks at BlogPaws).

I’d also love to get more involved in social media – specifically Twitter.  I absolutely suck at Twitter.

5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Facebook.  Adding a home location on Facebook has allowed my blog entries to be shared more readily and reached a wider audience.  I’m grateful for that especially for the shelter dogs I’ve featured who have been able to be adopted because of that on the Shelter Dog Saturday feature.

6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?

Not as much as I should.  I share each post on Facebook and Twitter but I really probably should get more involved in it.  I’m getting more involved in blogging communities but it’s hard to keep up with – especially with seven active dogs (even the seniors who need to relax some times!).

7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

I watch the stats constantly and love reading the comments I get too.

I tend to write a lot about what appeals to me and it may not always appeal to every reader.  Since the main goal I had for this blog when I started was just to share my dogs and my love of dogs with the world, it’s gone pretty well.  Some people enjoy a topic and others don’t.  It doesn’t make for continual growth but I’m okay wit that!

How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?

When it becomes work.  My blog is my escape time and if it becomes no fun anymore, it’s time to step back and take a break.  I’ve gone a few weeks where I just didn’t have the urge to write and so I didn’t.  The only thing that has taken a hiatus for something other than it becoming work was my Shelter Dog Saturday feature and that was because I wasn’t able to make it out to the shelters to photograph and get to know the dogs since I would rather focus on local dogs who need a place to go.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

Since most of the blogs I follow are typically pet related, it tends to be something I am interested or passionate about.  I try and share words of encouragement when I can, offer a friendly piece of advice or even share a bit of experience.

9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?

If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

I love doing reviews.  I love letting my readers get a perspective on a product that they may not have had originally.  I personally love reading the reviews and discussions on products as well because then I may have the urge to try that product too!

I had one product giveaway in conjunction with one and it was a bit stressful.  I decided to look into other ways of doing them for the next one I’m able to do.

10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

I take a break and do stuff off the blog – typically with the dogs.  It’s usually a few days but I’ve gone a couple of weeks before.  It’s not always easy because I tend to want to write down an idea or something on my tablet, scrap piece of paper or my phone but it definitely allows for time to rejuvenate and get those blog juices going again.

11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

Yes!  It wasn’t very long.  I usually just get burned out since we’ve got seven dogs in our house (one of them being a very naughty puppy!), a full time job, lots of volunteering with local shelters and animal rescue groups and other dog-related activities and clubs along with the blog.  Sometimes you just need a break!

Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?

No way!  I enjoy blogging and I enjoy reading other blogs.  They inspire me to look at myself and gives me an opportunity to possibly try something new and exciting with the hoard.  Heaven knows I need all the help I can get!

12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

I’d love to get the blog paying for itself so I can put the money I spend on it toward other fun things to do with the dogs.  I would also like to get more involved in the blogging community and learn ways to improve my blog and offer new things to new and old readers alike that can be beneficial while still maintaining that sense of personal identity that I originally started with.

And that’s it for my 2014 Pet Blogger Challenge!  I’m grateful to have found it last year and I hope for many more successes and additions to the roster next year.  I would like to give a major shout out to everyone who helped me improve my blog and gave me some awesome ideas and, yes, even criticism on how to fix issues I was having to create a better experience.  Here is to a bright and wonderful year!

Polar Vortex: The Stuck Inside Blues


It’s winter here in Michigan.  It’s expected to be cold, snowy and blustery but the last few days have been absolutely arctic with temperatures hitting 30+ degrees below zero with the wind chill.  According to a few articles I’ve been reading, this has been one of the coldest Artic outbreaks in two decades for Midwest, South and East Coast.  These cold temperatures have been brutal for animals that do not live in homes and there have been cries across Facebook and other social media sites in an effort to rally to help provide sufficient shelter, warmth and care for those animals whose owners cannot afford or are unwilling to bring their animals into their homes – even for a few days while this winter anomaly runs its course.

We have been, of course, stuck in the house predominantly.  The dogs have been miserable being unable to be outside and actually doing things.  Their frustration is almost tangible – especially when they are racing back to the house bouncing from foot to foot from frigid snow balls between their pads because of the unbearable temperatures causing the normally minor annoyance to become acutely painful.  They’ve been limited to treadmill time and basic and trick training in the house for the last week and we’re all counting down the time until this frigid weather breaks – hopefully in time for the snow pull this weekend!

If you’re stuck inside like I am, there are many, many things you can do to keep yourself and your dogs entertained without venturing out into the cold.  Here are a few examples:

  • Frozen Kongs – Use your favorite Kong recipes and then toss them in the freezer until frozen solid.  For many dogs, this will allow them time to work them out.  The quicker thinking the dog, the more complicated the layering in the Kong should be.
  • Puzzle Toys – Nina Ottosson makes some absolutely AMAZING puzzle toys but those aren’t the only variety out there.  The old standby of a Buster Cube is around as well as the Tug-A-Jug and other awesome, food dispensing toys.
  • Nosework GamesHiding food in boxes (shoe boxes, postal boxes recycled from the holidays, etc.) can get your pooch thinking and is a good ground breaking tool if you ever intend to get into K9 Nosework competitions.
  • Obedience Refresher – Work on basic obedience cues with nice, high value treats.  Keeping your dog on par with their commands means an easier to live with companion who isn’t a total pest when company comes to call.
  • Relationship Games – Play games like hide and seek that build and strengthen the bond between dog and owner.  These games also have a hidden capacity to reinforce good obedience and manners as well.

Happy 6th Birthday, Lyric!

lyricdirty-june2013-5572Six, long years ago a little black puppy was born in Snohomish, WA.  She was the tiniest and most adorable looking wiggle worm imaginable.  I knew by two weeks old she was to come home to me.  It was a grueling 10 week wait until my little Star Puppy, Lyric, was finally home.  Finally to be forever with me until time took her naughty self from me. The last six years have had their ups and downs.  The trials and tribulations we went through were nothing short of the amazing when we finally succeeded – especially in weight pull.

Lyric, you’ve given me your all – complete with a myriad of faults – and you’ve shown me what heart is.  I truly don’t deserve the absolute adoration and love you bestow upon me daily with unfailing loyalty and devotion.  You’ve not been an easy dog to live with but you’ve made the most of every moment we’ve had together.  I am so proud to call you MY dog and will be blessed for years to come with your antics lighting up my life for a very long time to come.

Here is to many, many more my little Tater Tot.  Happy 6th birthday, Lyric.  Let’s rock this world some more.

Happy 9th Birthday, Duo!

chicagotrip-july2013-7559You weren’t a planned partner.  You were only supposed to be a temporary fixture in our home back in 2009 and now look at you, my sweet boy.  You’ve grown roots here and came to call this place home.  We don’t know much about your past but what we do know about your future.

The last few years have been a trip.  You’ve taught me a new lesson in life and in patience with every step we’ve taken.  You’ve challenged me to grow as a trainer and dog fancier.  You’ve given a whole new meaning to ‘walking vet bill’ with your antics as well but I couldn’t change a thing (except, maybe going a bit easier on the spending?!).  You’re our little wonder bull.  Our short bus who tried and could.  Here is to many, many more years together.  We still have many adventures we need to take and mountains we need to climb.

Happy 9th Birthday, Duo!  We love you in all of your goofy ways!

Questioning My Sanity: An Introduction

I’m probably insane for doing this.  Insane for bringing a high drive puppy into a home with six other dogs and three of the six being seniors (even if they refuse to act like seniors!) but I honestly don’t think I can help it.  I keep looking at my older dogs and frowning over the fact that they’re getting older and by getting older, I worry far more that if I attempt to do things with them, I may invariably break them by asking something because they don’t know when to say orion-november2013-7271No, this is too much for me.’ and not perform the requested action.  They’re far too stubborn to quit and so I have to, essentially, force them to into retirement.  It sucks for me and it definitely sucks for them because they loathe seeing me work the younger dogs and not them.  Sure, they still get their work time but it is typically halved and not so intense.

You see, I knew that with five of my six dogs being at least five years old (or soon to be six), that it would be time to start looking for the next level of my sanity testing to be brought home – especially knowing that we had recently adopted our beloved senior boy, “Grandpa” Gus and that his time with us is limited by his quality of life since he is quite the old codger and hasn’t had the easiest of lives lived prior to joining the chaos of our home (which he is loving every moment of – especially if it means antagonizing the other boys!).

I had begun looking prior to even knowing that Gus would land in our home. I knew what I wanted in a dog and what breed I was after.  That dog had to be drivey – almost nutty with drive if I could safely manage it – and an APBT.  I, as always, looked to my favorite selection of working dog breeders for these options.  The unfortunate problem however is that working dog breeders rarely breed and rarely place dogs that they wouldn’t keep themselves if they had room.  I, however, lucked out with personal friends (and one of my favorite breeders!) – Howard and Beth.

You see, Howard and Beth breed only when they’re looking for the next addition to their program and so it’s lucky if a litter is born every three to four years.  I had, thankfully, begun my search right around the time they were whelping a beautiful APBT litter (and an AmStaff litter but I am not ready for an AmStaff just yet!) out of two beautiful, traditional type APBTs.  The whole litter was black and white and many of the puppies had flash.  I couldn’t help butorion-november2013-7283 drool as the puppy fever became stronger and stronger.

I watched them all grow.  I liked the girls but I had my heart set on a little boy because my best buddy and best working dog was, after all, a boy and that this puppy would have some gigantic paws to fill if he was ever going to be even half as good as my still working partner, Ryker, which I know will be easy with what his phenomenal breeders have produced in the past and looking at the very girl they entrusted with me almost four years ago.

I have finally succumbed to madness.  I have added a new puppy to the fold of six crazy, refusing-to-chill-with-age adult and senior dogs but I know, in the end, it will be worth it.  This wonderful little bundle of naughtiness, attitude and pure piss and vinegar will go places and do things and may even surpass those gigantic paws he has to fill but I may pull my hair out along the way.  I am happy to say, it will be worth it and to introduce to you Howard’s WMK Counting Stars who will be known around these parts as Orion.  Welcome home, little man.  We are glad to have you in all of your naughtiness (and yes, you will not have anyone younger than you to terrorize for a while at least!).

Giving Thanks


This has been a roller coaster of a year.  We’ve had a lot of changes come into our life and shared with you, our beloved blog readers, from potentially moving out of state to switching jobs and opening up our home to new furry friends.  We are grateful that things have flown smoothly through these transitions and hope that your family is experiencing times of joy in this season of giving and thankfulness.    Thank you for being readers and visitors of our blog for whatever reason life has brought you here.

With all of this giving thanks and giving spirits, we encourage you to go out into your community and share that love with those less fortunate – be it a needy animal or person.  Volunteer at your local animal or homeless shelter, soup kitchen or food bank.  Donate money, food or clothing to someone less fortunate or consider adopting a family – including their pets – for this holiday season.

Dog Tolerance and Aggression: The Ugly Realities

dogs_snarling_at_each_otherDog aggression and reactivity is a reality facing many of today’s dogs.  It’s not pretty.  It’s not fun to deal with.  It can be downright dangerous in the hands of someone unable to handle the situation.  The worst thing of all?  It’s a common trait in many dogs and many breeds, especially in the breed that I love and cherish – the American Pit Bull Terrier.  Many people want to sugar coat it, deny it and avoid talking about it like the plague however, burying one’s head in the sand doesn’t do the dogs who have this trait any justice.  They aren’t bad dogs.  They just don’t necessarily want or need other doggie friends.

Dog aggression toward other dogs isn’t, as I said above, necessarily a breed specific trait but it is incredibly common in the American Pit Bull Terrier and related breeds.  Why?  Well, this breed was specifically bred for the specific purpose of being a canine gladiator many moons ago.  Often people want to deny the actual history of the original bull-and-terrier crosses and the associated breed traits but the reality is there.  They were bred for battle against another animal and/or another canine.  They may have performed other duties in home and often times, pit dogs were fine until actually put into the pit as they knew their job and one would have never known the dog had the abilities it did unless one was in attendance at a dog fight.

That being said, there are varying levels of a dog’s sociability toward other dogs.  These levels,pitbull-training originally posted by BAD RAP, describe a dog’s level of tolerance toward other dogs and can range greatly from dog to dog and breed to breed.  These tolerance levels have been classified into four different levels: dog social to dog tolerant to dog selective and finally to dog aggressive.  These levels can be influenced heavily by handler involvement, environment and level of training/handling of that particular dog and is one of the key reasons it is important with dogs who border on more extreme levels of reactivity to be continually supervised and never set up for failure by throwing them into chaotic situations like visiting a dog park. (I’ve already ranted about dog parks here.)

Most pit bull-type dogs tend to fall in between dog tolerant to dog selective as maturity sets in, as is the case with many dogs.  They get fed up with the shenanigans from puppies and other dog social dogs and prefer dogs that they match in temperament and behavior – just like many human beings!  Unfortunately for many pit bull-type dogs that end up in shelters or euthanized, their owners failed to recognize or accept that Fido didn’t love every other dog out there, got snarky and unmanageable and, ultimately, failed by his human being for having traditional breed traits and no one to set boundaries or reinforce good behavior and how to behave even if they’re in a situation that could lead to a reaction.

dogbite_photo2That being said, dog reactivity/aggression should not by any means to be confused with human aggression.  Human aggression is one of the worse offenses dog kind can commit because it brings into play human laws and human emotions and will often lead to the ultimate solution – euthanasia.  I, personally, do not tolerate this type of action from a dog.  If a dog shows serious injury causing aggression toward a person (adult or child), then there is only one fate in my book.  With so many stable-minded dogs of all breeds available, one who harms a human being should not exist in this world because the risks associated with it do no one any good – least of all the dog or person involved in such a vicious attack.

Ultimately, in the end, it will be up to the person to maintain their dog in a situation.  They will need to understand, accept and acknowledge breed traits and tendencies and react accordingly.  Setting up a dog for failure in any circumstance is simply unacceptable and irresponsible.  This act of irresponsibility will lead to other consequences for those who pride themselves in being responsible for their dogs through breed specific legislation and other regulations that are aimed at being reactive to situations of owner failure.  Thankfully, there are many, many resources available out there to help and educate on all things breed specific on the Internet by trusted resources like BAD RAP and DINOS.

National Pit Bull Awareness Month 2013

21423_10151223420059828_576419650_nEvery year the month of October is hailed in as a month of awareness for one of the most misunderstood, mistreated and maligned breeds of dog in modern history – the pit bull.  There are many who would wish to see this breed’s future annihilated and sent into extinction but there are even greater numbers of breed advocates and aficionados who work tirelessly against the opposing side in an effort to reverse breed specific legislation that is aimed to eventually destroy the breed that is affectionately called ‘America’s Dog’ by its followers.

National Pit Bull Awareness Month is only a couple of years into its conception.  The creator founded this month in an effort to show the love and dedication of one very special American Pit Bull Terrier named Tiffin who had crossed the bridge earlier in the year.  This wonderful tribute allowed for the extension of the original National Pit Bull Awareness Day (which was started in 2007) into thirty-one days of advocacy and affection for an incredibly diverse and resilient breed.  This month will allow shelters, breed clubs, other individuals and groups to spotlight the breed through events geared toward education and responsible ownership of this often demonized breed to show that, with a little elbow grease,  this breed can and should remain a part of the heart and soul of so many fanciers across the globe.

 So, the question remains – what can you do to be a responsible advocate for this years National Pit Bull Awareness Month to raise awareness and celebrate your love for this breed?  Well, hereriverouge-september2013-2787 are a few suggestions that may get your creative juices flowing that will not only help the breed but also the community with your positive actions:

– Use the power of social media to share positive images, stories and events involving pit bulls.

– Volunteer at your local shelters and rescues.  These dogs wait for their forever homes and time spent working with them enables them to get closer to the highly sought after end result of that forever home.

– If you’re looking for a new canine companion and can responsibly care for a pit bull, check out those same shelters and rescue groups for your next best friend.  (If a rescue isn’t your cup of tea, which we understand, and you’re still looking for a pit bull, make sure you work with a breeder who is ethical and responsible!)

– Get involved in breed specific activities and events.  Group walks/hikes, dog sports, etc. are excellent ways to network, keep updated on local issues and provide opportunities to passively socialize your dog or to solve a current issue with someone who has one through it already.

– Sign up for that Canine Good Citizenship or Therapy Dog class you’ve been putting off.  Everyone appreciates a well behaved dog no matter what the breed is and eventual therapy dog work will be beneficial to the community as well!

227875_10150183839839828_1098159_nMost importantly, no matter what activities you do this month, make sure you enjoy your dog(s) and be an advocate who acts professionally and politely without being too overzealous.  It is, after all, a hard pill to swallow if one is proved wrong (and something I’ve personally learned from experience many times over!).

Have a wonderful National Pit Bull Awareness Month and don’t forget to celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Day 2013 on October 26th!

Love Knows No Bounds

gus-september2013-2788If you had asked me two weeks ago if I had planned to add a new dog to the pack in the very near future I probably would have laughed.  I had plans, yes, but they were weeks, months and even years in the future.  I wasn’t in the thought process that the future and new dog were only a short time away or in the circumstance in which they happened to happen in.

When I first saw Gus (then Pugsley) and his photo on Facebook, my heart took a flying leap into my throat.  Here was this sweet, old pit bull mix staring at me from the depths of my computer screen across the Internet.  I cursed at the state he had arrived at the shelter in and wondered how this stately gentleman had ended up bitten to ribbons with sores and cuts all over his body even though I know the streets aren’t kind to any dog, especially an old guy with nubs for most of his teeth.  This sweet guy and I would be seeing one another soon as there was no other option because he had landed himself at the very shelter I spend most of my time at.  Just my luck, right?

It started off innocently enough.  I offered to take this poor guy into the vet.  I steeled myself against falling in love pretty successfully until he climbed into my lap as I sat on the floor of thegus-september2013-2857 exam room.  That final tightening of the love noose came when he laid his greying head on my shoulder and let out a deep, relaxed sigh.  I knew that it was the beginning of the end.  He had to come home.  My…no, our home would and must be his.

The rest of the week (since he came on with a black quick release collar) while he was on stray hold was pure agony.  I waited to see if my sweet old man would be returned to his former home…but no one came and part of me was sad.  Someone had to be missing him, right?  I couldn’t dwell on it.  He had served his mandatory seven day hold and was a stray no longer.

Officially available, I collected him from the shelter he had called home.  Never again, I vowed, would he want or need for anything.  His golden years will be full of love and care for as long as he is with us.  He will be loved, cherished and spoiled utterly rotten.  He will be able to call a place his forever home.


Happy Gotcha Day, Gus.  Here is to many more years in the Work-A-Bull pack.