Movie Review: Chained

This is a movie that truly had me going one way then sideswiped me into the opposite direction. The storyline had some grit and rawness to it I found myself hiding my eyes… Often.

Picture a wonderful hot sunny day and a mother and son are excited about going to see a movie. Dad had some business to attend to, so he drops off his precious family. Mom and son are all smiles, before Dad drives off, a look of worry comes over him. He calls Mom back to the car and insists that they take a cab home instead of the bus, for safety reasons while handing wads of cash into Mom’s hand. Dad drives off and the duo enjoy their movie.

Enter the cab. As most of us know one of the most vulnerable situations where we require trust is in transportation and food. Taking a cab is a more intimate way to travel and with automatic locks it can quickly become your prison. Watching movies like Kiss The Girls starring Morgan Freeman has given me some paranoia. As soon as I saw that cab roll up on our Mom and son team, I knew they were in for a bumpy ride. The driver skips their exit, the phone has no service, the driver locks the windows and doors. The panic begins as both Mom and son scream with threats and cries. The car finally stops at an intersection on a dirt road on a countryside. The driver and one of my favourite actors, Vincent D’Onofrio, towers over the car, opens the back door where Mom is screaming, he hits her and silences her.

They pull up to an unkempt house and into the garage. The massive man pulls Mom out of the cab by her hair and as she says her last goodbyes, her son relieves himself as he hears her cries of terror until there is an ominous silence.

The man proceeds to set some ground rules down for the innocent 9 year old. Chores and duties around his house in exchange for basic human needs like food and small freedoms. As the movie title says, the boy eventually becomes chained to the wall by his ankle.

8 years go by as the boy is also made to help his psychopath captor clean up after each of his murders. He is made to collect trinkets, cash and newspaper clippings regarding each of his victims. The boy is now a teenager and is starting to become defiant. The man reacts to his defiance in 2 ways. His first reaction is to yell and be physical but when he sees that the boy is numb to his disciplines a look of pride comes through and with that a weird respect and affection comes over him. The man gives him books about human anatomy and is ordered to study them for when it’s the boys turn to “hunt” for his own victims.

One night, the man gives the boy a gift in the form of a young girl. The boy sits across from her, a large knife in hand and the dilemma of his reality sinks in. Will he succumb to the grooming of his captor?

This movie was a great one. It kept my attention and blew my mind with the twists and turns. If you like psychological horror movies, give this a watch. You can find Chained on Amazon’s Prime Video.

I’ll be back to share more!

Takeout food almost killed me!

Hello my friends and I hope you are all doing well. So let’s talk about home cooked meals. As a mother of 6 children I have been challenged with coming up with quick and easy ways to feed the family. During this current pandemic and the most recent 4 week lockdown here in my city, even ordering food can have risks. A few weeks ago, I had a fight with some food poisoning after ordering some takeout. Some people may have slight fevers and other not so pleasant discomforts in the stomach and bowels. However, due to my ever complexing Multiple Sclerosis disease, food poisoning can be a full on battle.

Yes I had tons of life stress that contributed while also concealing what was happening with me. My stomach started feeling and looking swollen. I noticed but wasn’t too alarmed as my disease, meds, stress etc. can cause some bloating. I started feeling fatigue, also a common symptom of MS, and my stomach had a burning feeling and THEN the real pain began. My lower back started hurting, I could hardly walk. The pain was so bad and I was so weak I opted to buy a wheelchair to help. I was mostly bedridden and I was tired of staring at the walls. I started feeling hot and cold chills and with the state of the world as it is, I did not want to go to the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary, but something was urging me to do something about it. I called my neurologist because I was going downhill fast.

After having so much pain walking and simply moving my legs, my neurologist asked me questions, did some physical tests. Before I go on, I would like to point out that these physical tests are freaking hard! There’s pulling, pushing, walking, eye testing, coordination testing, balancing, reflex testing and trying to remember all the concerns I had.. I digress. We looked at my recent brain MRI and he didn’t see any new nor active lesions. At the end of it all we discussed steroids.

As much as I love to be pain free, I take steroids with my Ocrevus infusion every 6 months and I really wanted to avoid the side effects as much as possible. For example, “roid rages”, eating like a bottomless pit but most importantly over time my bones will become brittle. We discussed our options and decided to do a full panel blood test, get a new spine MRI and then decide what the next step is pending the results. The wait sucked really hard, but what the blood test revealed was pretty shocking.

Are you ready for this one?! I had E.coli poisoning!! My nurse called to check on how I was feeling and tried to assure me that it should clear up on its own. My neuro said the small infection is exacerbating my MS symptoms, kinda like hiding in plain sight.  We went ahead with getting another spine MRI just to be sure.  My family physician and nurse contacted me and prescribed 1 dose of fluoroquinolone.  A few weeks later, my spine MRI showed no new nor active lesions and I was starting to feel better each day after.

What this whole ordeal came down to is food.  All the risks and trust we put into others to prepare our meals is incredible.  It made me really think about my family and how we have all consumed this food and could have ended up in a full disaster if my children were effected.  Now I’m a lot more cautious of what I and my family eats.  I’ve gone back to my roots, cooking, baking and creating different recipes that my kids are so happy with.  My most recent creation was a 5 layer lasagna.  I made the noodles and layered the dish while I watched Dr. G Medical Examiner.  Perhaps watching her show made me hyper aware about what goes on inside our bodies and contributing factors to deaths.  The best thing that I’ve done, as a direct result of using quality ingredients and home cooking, is leading by example.  My children love to watch and help me cook and bake.  Their eyes brighten up when I make their favourite treats and dishes, but even more so when they know they helped me.


I hope this post gives you some cooking inspiration and health awareness.

Take care!

SS

Canine Exercise

Alright! The warmer weather is slowly creeping in and it’s time to physically condition my dogs. Dog shows in Canada are still in question however if you’re a dog lover like I am, putting my dogs in their top condition is a major goal. Showing dogs is not just about their coats it is about bringing out the best of the best out of the show prospect. Usually within the first few months to 2 years of my show prospect’s life, I have a better idea of what they can do in the ring and whether they will be part of my breeding program.

Structure is so unbelievably important to me so I tend to choose my puppies that are of show quality. To me, that means that the breeder has used their professional knowledge, time and effort to ensure they produce dogs that best represents the breed standard be it from the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kingdom Kennel Club (UKC) etc. Yes, the breed standard is up to interpretation, so make sure you find a good mentor in your breed club or your kennel clubs to help guide you. One thing to keep into perspective is what showing is about. As the names suggest “Canadian Kennel Club”, these are dog kennel clubs. As a member of these clubs I can openly admit that we are dog enthusiasts and most members are breeders. In my last post about dogs ( Purebred or Not ) I explained why I choose purebred dogs, so you can get a bit of my reasoning.

Watching a dog’s gait or the way the move while they walk is another way that I condition my dogs. Much like horses move or “gait” the same is true for dogs. No matter how big or small, the dogs are they should look effortless as the move around the ring. For a show dog, this can be the most important 5 minutes of the show day. I remember my first time in the ring, a total rookie but I did take handling classes ( a handler is the person that takes the dog in the ring and presents the dog to the judge, this can be the owner or a professional handler ). My adrenaline was pumping and it was only a practice show. My fellow students were just as nervous.

We all lined up, stacked our dogs ready for our once around the ring. All I kept thinking is “I hope I don’t fall on my face”. From application forms, show entries, different formation patterns the judge would request, it made all us students sweat as we were all preparing for a weekend show. At the time, I showed my female Boxer who was full of energy, but she turned it down a touch and I won third place. Several years down the road I showed a male Lhasa Apso. This guy was the easiest dog to show. He loved moving around the ring like he owned it. His flowing long hair made him look like he was floating. It was so much fun but a LOT of work. Taking him to different shows and getting his Championship at 9 months of age was a group effort but it was so exciting taking a Best Puppy in Show win! Yes it was a proud moment to know I ran around the ring with my dog and I working as a team. There’s something magical about the bond I have with my dogs an unspoken quiet understanding that we’ve got a job to do.

Babbette has been my sidekick and my shadow for 2 years throughout this pandemic. Babb let me cuddle her when I had a loss in the family I literally cried into her coat while she licked my hand, she helps me stabilize when I walk or when I stumble she’s so quiet and kind. Babbette and dogs like her are why I choose to show and breed the best dogs humans can bond with. Dogs have been bred to help us humans for more than a century and I see responsible dog owners now more than ever.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll see our human-dog team in a show one day. For now, I will be out and about bonding with my dogs and getting myself conditioned as well. Bring on that Spring weather!

Babbette’s favourite frisbee is a Kong Flying Disc from RenPets. I am currently using a soft rope slip collar similar to this one on Amazon, I do not recommend this type for smaller dogs or puppies. Happy canine exercising!

Post Mortem

I have been intrigued by true crime which you know. I am not alone in this fascination but in going down that rabbit hole of videos I had more and more recommendations of documentaries. I let my YouTube algorithm choose my videos and BAM I was hit with a 3 minute clip Dr. G Medical Examiner. I was like, “Why the heck haven’t I been watching her shows?!” I immediately used Google-magic to find all her shows. I am on season 4 of 7 and let me tell you guys. This show ticks off all the boxes for a fast paced and a “who did it?” type of feel. I find myself shouting out guesses of the cause of death with her examinations. It’s a thing.

Some bodies were on the floor of the funeral home. Two decomposing, unembalmed corpses were in a battered brown hearse. One was wrapped in sheets; the other was in a plastic bag. Days later, more bodies were found stacked in a closet. One body had been in the funeral home 10 years.

Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew

One of the breakthroughs of her career was in 1988. A government funded funeral home, in Jacksonville, Florida, was found using poor embalming and body preservation practices. Dr. Jan Garavaglia had a huge task of not only identifying quickly decomposing bodies in the Florida heat, she also had to contact each of the families as well as provide a long list of evidence to help prosecute the weirdo who committed such heinous acts.

Most of the dead had been poor or did not have relatives. Despite finding funeral home owner Lewis Howell’s performance “marginal,” the city had continued to pay him $100 to $450 to have some of the bodies cremated or buried. City officials said they were not aware that the state also had problems with Howell.

Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew

The clock never ends for the many medical professionals who do the jobs we don’t always know about. In 2015, Dr. G. retired and married her first love. She has not only contributed to the education in medical forensics, she has also taught many young budding medical examiners how to keep searching for answers within each case. She has also opened my eyes to my own health. I will make more of an effort to keep my arteries clean and organs hydrated. I’ve had some recent bloodwork and MRIs done so I’m taking this opportunity to wipe the slate clean and create a healthier me.

The beauty of being alive is that you can reinvent yourself and start over as many times as you want.

Cheers to a clean slate!

Full Article: Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew, Orlando Sentinel

Snappy Decisions

I heard my neighbourhood Robin Red Breast bird, Mr. Robinson, singing his beautiful song while I woke up and stretched. The sun was shining and as I stood in front of my glass paned door, there sat a squirrel. I’ve since named him Mr Cooper.

We all stood quietly staring at each other. Mr. Cooper impressed me as he stood his ground and I’m sure he was mildly taunting my wolves with defiance. Tootsie shifted her weight from paw to paw waiting for a command. Babbette stood ready looked up at me briefly anticipating her command. Vinny quietly started to growl, I responded with, “Leave it” and he looked up in acknowledgement.

Mr. Cooper sat on the post of my fence, standing still on his hind legs, his “hands” held across his exposed white haired belly. He’s a bit big, a sizeable grey furred body which makes me believe that he’s a pretty old dude. With my trusty indoor wolves by my side, I slowly opened said glass paned door.

Suddenly, I heard a rustle from my neighbour’s backyard. From the corner of my eye, I saw 2 small black furry tails disappear in the branches of the snow covered tree. Mr. Cooper tilted his head as if he read my mind and now knew I could be a serious threat to his family. I nodded to, Mr. Cooper dismissing him from our stalemate. I told the wolves to sit and closed the door as Mr. Cooper continued on his way to the tree.

I just thought I’d share this moment with you.

Cheers for a happy day!

A Dog Story: Purebred or not?

While trotting through the internet I read articles about rescuing versus purebred dogs something that I’ve been asked many times before. To be clear, I have experience with training and raising both rescued and purebreds.

So let’s start with some common ground. If you’re a dog lover you get me. I have loved dogs since I was a child. My aunt owned this great big beautiful mixed bred dog, named Nina, she and my uncle rescued her from the shelter when she was just a pup. I couldn’t wait to visit her and play with her. She was the size of a German Shepard with hair as white as a Samoyed and a beautiful face like some kind of terrier. She also must have had Collie in her too as she loved to herd my brother and I to protect us from Geronimo, the young German Shepherd who lived in the neighbour’s house. He was her nemesis after he let us ride him like a horse and she had to watch from behind the sliding glass door. She lived to the age of 18 and passed away peacefully in her sleep.

I rescued and adopted many dogs over the years and I can’t picture my life without one. I have had successes in Shutzhund (protection & security) training 2 Boxers, 1 I bought from a breeder and the other a rescue who was found deep in the northern bush close to an oil well.

My first time at a dog show I instantly fell in love. Every breed of dog you can think of under one roof. Handlers magically making their dogs look like they are gliding through the air. I entered my first dog show with my Boxer. I took a handling class and there was so much to learn. Long story short she loved working security way more than dog shows and she let everyone know by jumping around trying to get me to play. However, even though I looked foolish it was too late, I was already hooked with training a dog how to show.

I’m sure by now you’re still asking “ok so you’ve had different dogs, why purebreds?”

It comes to this.. my children. I need dogs that are temperamentally sound in my home. Being “sound” means a better chance of predicting their personality. I’ve had show dogs in my home I have done extensive research of breeds, breeders and clubs. I have picked out dogs from breeders who have many years of experience. Their litters are deliberate and my relationship with the breeders I choose is already established way before the pups are born, in some occasions.

I left the show ring a few years ago due to medical and family issues. I’ve missed it ever since and was getting back into it right before the pandemic hit. I am still conditioning myself and my dogs in hopes to get in the ring again.

I agree with ethical breeding, training and rescuing dogs. Maybe you could call me a walking contradiction, but I consider myself a dog enthusiast. Rescue or not I don’t regret any of the dogs who have shared their lives with me. Mixed or purebred dog, I’m taking a page out of my furry babies’ life lessons and live in the present.

My current indoor wolf pack consists of a one-eared hairless Chinese Crested dog who doesn’t know he’s supposed to have 2 ears and 2 poodles who think they’re human. Ahh, it’s a beautiful life.

Let’s Shave A Poodle Dog Grooming 101: Face Feet and… LIVE!

I will be doing a livestream on at 10am EST on Friday February 12, 2021.

This is part of a series on how to clip a poodle’s face, feet and undercarriage.

I decided to create this series to help dog owners trim their own dog’s hair to help maintain them during the pandemic. Grooming my dogs is a kind of therapy and physical exercise for me. As a certified groomer I knew getting a poodle would be an experience something I had to work up to. Guys, poodles have a sh*t ton of hair!

This series can also help you make a decision if a breed that requires this amount of grooming is for you. See you tomorrow!

It will be broadcast to my YouTube Channel and a link on Twitter as well.

Livestream: Let’s Shave A Poodle Dog Grooming 101: Face Feet &…

Let’s Shave A Poodle 101 Dog Grooming – Pre-Bath

I did a live video stream about how I groom my dogs. The pandemic has us packed away for safety so how do you get your dogs groomed? Many of us miss taking our furbabies to get groomed where they come out looking perfect… Those were the days, but for now, your dog needs your help.

I’ve had my share of grooming, showing and training dogs and I, too, had to learn a lot about them. We bring our dogs into our homes with all love but we have to remind ourselves that this is a responsibility. When people tell you to do your research before you get a dog, I get it. I’m from the old school before the internet where actual books were your only source of information. Looking for breed specific books was an errand on the list with other shopping needs. Although the internet has solved that issue, sometimes the info highway can get convoluted depending on what you read. Well, this is not that kind of post.

This post is made to help you start grooming your own dogs and develop a new bonding experience. So let’s begin with tools.

Fine and wide tooth comb

If you have a dog that requires regular grooming, you will need a few things. A metal comb made specifically for dogs and yes, there was a time when I used a plastic human comb… Short story, it broke in my Lhasa Apso’s coat and he looked at me with disdain while I spent 5 mins picking broken plastic teeth out of his hair.

Pin brush and slicker brush

Long and double coated dogs need to be brushed everyday. That cute fluffy puppy grows coat by the minute so before you bring him/her home make sure you invest in quality brushes. As puppies, my poodles were brushed, combed and daily checked for any knots that tend to form in sensitive areas.

Small, medium and large brushes

Make sure you buy size appropriate brushes for your puppy. It can be intimidating to see this great big thing with a bunch of teeth coming at you so speak softly and encourage your pup by letting him/her smell all your tools before you use them. This is telling your pup to trust you because this tool is an extension of your hand.

Dual spray bottle with water and a small spray bottle with diluted conditioner.

Misting and conditioning the coat is also an awesome maintenance tip. My breeder friend taught me this tip years ago. I was preparing my dog’s coat, I had it brushed and combed out perfectly, but he decided that rolling in the grass and playing with my other dog was fun. I called my friend exhausted and totally whining. After he laughed at me, he told me to mix my concentrated conditioner and dilute it at a 1:1 ratio and lightly mist his coat while I combed through it again. Wow did I ever breathe sigh of relief. 4 hours of grooming was saved and he went on to get his Championship! This tip can greatly change your world and shave some time off their daily groom. Now don’t get crazy and douse your dog with conditioner their skin needs to breathe and dried conditioner on their skin can be problematic.

I left a couple of links to the brushes I use and a live stream where I’m prepping my dog, Babbette’s coat for her bath. Don’t stress about getting a brush, wash and final groom done in one day. A little progress everyday is a win for you and your furbaby!

Let’s Shave A Poodle 101 Dog Grooming – Pre-Bath

Medium Brush

Large Brush

NEWS! Dog sniffing for coronavirus?


I came across an video article about dogs sniffing for coronavirus among the patrons at all home games. I had to watch it about 5 times until I could put all the words and procedures, I was seeing in my eyes, together. The video raised questions and thoughts as to if this option was a real thing. I had to slice this bit by bit and figure this out. I mean this is going way beyond what I was even thinking. Let’s start slicing..

The first layer is that the Miami Heat representatives have considered extra precautions to ensure the safety of their patrons at all their home games at the American Airlines Arena. I have to commend their efforts in being proactive during this pandemic. The video shows people formed in groups all faces are masked. The first checkpoint you are lined up 6 feet between each other and you must go through a metal detector. Layer 1 is complete.

The second step is a visual check and the scent sniffing corona virus dogs come out. If you are ok you and your group is lead to your seating area. If anyone in your group has been alerted by the dogs, you and your entire group are denied entry. As I watched the whole procedure play itself out I was in awe. Guys this is really happening. Ok so I digested that video and was, yet again, perturbed about something I still can’t put my mind at ease about.

Here are my questions: How does a dog know what corona virus smells like? How does one train a dog to detect the virus? If dogs can smell it, is there a way we can smell ourselves and know we are virus free? What if you’re sneaking treats into the stadium and the dog smells that and alerts to you but it’s too late because your group can’t get in because beef jerky was your fave snack? Will they blast you online and you try to explain about the jerky but everyone is pissy? These are the questions we should really be asking.  Or maybe I just need some answers.

Original ESPN Video reference 🎥

Dog Nail Maintenance for Beginners

While the world is on pause I decided to share some tips on doing some 101 minimum puppy care for your new furbaby.

I have been grooming, training and showing dogs for over 25 years. Of course, I am a sucker for those little fluffy puppies but they are definitely a lot of work. Dog sales have sky rocketed over the last year, so fast that I have seen some frustration and confusion on basic puppy care.

Whatever the reason you have about bringing a puppy into your home; he/she is now staring right back at you while you’re trying to figure out your next move. There are some basic equipment that I’m sure you already have in place. Namely you will have: a food and water bowl; crate/kennel; bones & toys; blanket; leash & collar; brush and/or comb. Along with those listed, you will need a Veterinarian, a Groomer and contact information of your breeder. I know, it may seem like a lot but these are the secrets of owning a new puppy.

Once upon a time, there wasn’t a pandemic and we could easily book grooming and veterinarian appointments. Now, we are encouraged to independently take care of the beings within our home. For me, that includes haircuts for humans and dogs. Regardless of breed, our pups of all ages need their nails clipped. The clip clop of the nails on the hard surface floors is a sign that your dog needs a nail trim.

I use a scissor type pet nail clipper to take off extra length. I take off at least 3-5mm off of each nail. I found a clipper and nail file combination on Amazon. I especially like the guard it has that can limit the amount of nail to trim. When trimming puppy nails it can be a challenge. They squirm and sometimes cry. Stay calm and even if you get one nail done, call it a win for the day and try again the next day. I recommend tapping the clipper on each nail to desensitize your pup.

The product that most prompted me to do this post is a nail grinder I found also on Amazon. A nail grinder is an electric corded or cordless rotary tool. This grinder is cordless and rechargeable which makes it easier to get around each foot. It is very quiet and dogs of all ages in my household don’t argue with me at all. I felt it was important to share these tools because those long nails can cause hip and spine problems with your dog in the long term. I have been using this grinder for over a year without any problems. Using a combo of both the clippers and the grinder should make your nail trimming day a lot easier. I would also recommend grinding your dogs nails on a regular basis of once or more a week.

If anything doing the bare minimum of keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can lead to a stronger bond with them. A trust like that can also lead to having the courage to giving them a haircut…. but that will be another post. ☺️