Life to the MAX Pose of the Week: The Good Kid We’ve Raised

May 27th, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

The opening line in Christopher Plummer’s recent autobiography is “I was brought up by an Airedale” and I’m thinking of that today as I prepare to celebrate my son’s graduation from high school. Our dogs have been pervasive in Andrew’s life–he has quietly shared ice cream with Bernie; happily blown bubbles with Max; patiently pulled prickers from Amber’s fur and laughed as he and Krissy play chase around the house and yard.  Andrew has grown into a smart, funny and caring young man and I think our dogs have had a paw in teaching him as much as my husband and I have.  In honor of Andrew’s graduation, today’s Life to the MAX Pose of the Week is one of my favorite photos of Andrew and Max, which is also featured in the dedication of our book.  If Max were here today, I think this is what he would say to Andrew.

Bernie, Max, Amber and Krissy–I think we did good!

Life to the MAX Pose of the Week: Nothing’s Missing in Nina’s Life

May 19th, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

This week’s Pose of the Week is of my friend’s Airedale tripod, Nina, who epitomizes the Life to the MAX attitude.  Since having her leg removed a few years ago after what they thought at the time was cancer in the bone, Nina has not lost a step. In fact, the way she stands, walks and engages in life, you almost have to look twice to realize her front limb isn’t there. Nina could have whined, sulked and withdrawn from life, but to her, nothing was missing from her life–she had love, family and a warm place to sleep. According to Mark, Nina never stopped being happy, active and just as mischievous as usual.  A little disability is not going to stop her!

As humans, we can all learn something from Nina.  Like Nina, we all endure some wounds, losses or setbacks during our lives, but we can choose to blame our bad luck or bless the event that made us stronger.  Nina is leading the way. Now we just need to have enough sense to follow.

Send us your funny, cute or inspirational dog photos for your chance to win a free copy of our book and remember we are now in the process of collecting stories for our sequel.  If you have a story about the lesson you learned from the Max dog in your life, please send it to us or submit it online.

Life to the Max Pose of the Week: Who’s Peeking?

May 12th, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

This week’s Life to the Max Pose of the Week comes again from Susan Widmar of her Airedale puppy, Dudley.  This adorable photo caught Dudley’s Dad peeking at him through the laundry chute. No doubt for Dudley, this phenomenon was met with a mixture delight upon seeing Dad and bewilderment at how he came to fit in that little door!

Join the fun! Send us your cute, funny dog photos for your chance to win a free copy of our book.  Also, we are beginning to collect stories for our sequel, so if you have an inspiring story about a dog named Max, please feel free to submit it online.

Life to the Max Pose of the Week: Show Me Your Papers, Doggone It!

May 5th, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

“Nina, you were jaywalking and I overheard you speaking canine. You must be illegal. Show me your papers!”

“But I have no pockets!”

This week’s Life to the Max Pose of the Week comes from my friend, Mark Setterholm. His picture of his Airedale, Nina, peeking warily around the corner of the house made me think about what’s going on now in Arizona. Forgive me for getting on my soapbox, but I want to make it clear that I am not a part of the supposed 70% of Arizonans who support the passage of the Arizona Senate bill 1070. (Also I’d like to know who is doing the polling!) The problem with immigration and our borders certainly needs to be addressed, but legislation like 1070 only exacerbates the problem, fanning fear, suspicion and distrust, and escalating the very type of violence it is trying to stem. Put desperation together with our free-wheeling Arizona gun culture and bad things are bound to happen.

As a small business owner, I also find it reprehensible that a governor of a state that is experiencing little to no economic recovery would sign this bill purely for her own political gain, knowing full well it would further compromise our already struggling economic recovery. Cancellation of contracts and conventions with Arizona businesses will hurt real people with real families to support, not the politicians who will do or say whatever it takes to get re-elected.

Immigration is a complex issue that needs thoughtful debate, not self-serving sound bites and hateful legislation. Fear should not inform our decisions. Otherwise, as Walt Kelly once wrote, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”


Life to the Max Pose of the Week: The Wonder of Babies & Puppies

April 28th, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

Next month, my son graduates from high school and in preparation of celebrating this milestone, I have been going through a lot of the pictures we have accumulated over the years. One of the things that has struck me as I review these images (other than “What was I thinking with some of those hairstyles and glasses?!”) is how much wonder babies have at discovering the world and how much excitement they exude at mastering even the simplest tasks. Like when Andrew discovered that Bernie made a good pillow.

Or how happy he was to be at the same level as the dogs in his dinosaur walker.

Or how content he was just to share a bit of ice cream with his buddy, Bernie.

As adults, we often let daily stress, thoughts of past difficulties or projections of future problems mask that child-like wonder of enjoying the little triumphs that are a presented to us each day. Though it’s often hard to stay in the moment, if we remembered-even for a few minutes-to act a little more like babies and puppies, we’d have a lot more gratitude and fun to share with each other.

That’s what I thought about when I saw this picture of Dudley that was sent to me by his mom, Susan Widmar.

Even when we get older, there are new worlds to explore and moments that make you say, “AWWWW!”  And when you do, you know you’re living Life to the MAX!

Life to the Max Pose of the Week: Krissy Gives a Marketing Lesson

April 22nd, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

Do you ever wonder who you can turn to for good marketing advice? I think the answer may be lying at your feet. Your dog is probably one of the best examples of what it takes to market effectively. Take our Airedale, Krissy, for example. She and Amber come to the office with us every day. After they have greeted everyone, Krissy begins her marketing campaign to be taken for a walk. What makes her an effective marketer?

1) She knows her target market. She knows who feeds her, takes her for a walk and plays ball with her. She is not going to waste time pursuing anyone who hasn’t scratched her belly or given her a Greenie. She makes a beeline directly to my office and jumps on my lap to get my attention.

2) She has developed her core message. For any given situation, she knows the exact doleful face, the slight whimper or persistent paw that will get the just response she wants and she keeps it up persistently until she gets the desired reaction.

3) She uses a good marketing mix. Krissy doesn’t rely on just one tactic to attract attention. If I don’t respond to the lap jumping, she barks and then gets Amber to bark.

This is the basic premise of social marketing. You tweet; someone retweets.

If that doesn’t work, she takes my hand in her mouth and pulls me toward the door.

This is called direct response marketing.

If that doesn’t work, she runs to my assistant and jumps on her chair.

This is called influencer marketing.

And if her wishes are STILL ignored, she will lay by the window and sigh loudly and forlornly.

A good example of stealth marketing.

In the end, she usually gets the walk she’s been lobbying for which just proves you have to use a variety of tactics to achieve success.

These are just a few of the marketing lessons you can learn from dogs and it is the basis for my presentation, Marketing to the MAX: What My Dogs Taught Me About Marketing My Book. Please join me at my next presentation Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 5:30 pm at the monthly meeting of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers at the Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town, 7325 East Third Avenue, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. You’ll see that much of marketing just takes dogged determination!

Life to MAX Pose of the Week: Princess is No Sore Loser

April 14th, 2010 by Robin Reynolds

Our call to have our readers send in their favorite funny photos or cute puppy pictures has brought in some interesting photos of large and small puppies. Such is the case with Al Navas’s pit bull rescue, Princess. When we saw this photo of Princess in her little basketball shirt, we thought she looked like a pouting basketball fan–perfect for the beginning of NBA playoff, right?

But Princess has a deeper story that proves she’s now a team player and no sore loser.  I will let Al tell you in his own words:

Princess is now 18 months old; she came to us when she was about 8 weeks old. My 19 year-old daughter brought her from a shelter where she was working as a volunteer when somebody was about to surrender this beautiful puppy. What I saw was a gorgeous, active, playful, intriguing puppy. I had a couple of dogs when I was younger but I had heard about pit bulls and their terrible reputation, which made me question the decision to adopt her. As the days went by and the excitement shared by my children and I grew, my wife became increasingly worried.

She saw Princess as a puppy that needed love and a home, but she also saw an aggressiveness about her that only would feed a lifelong fear of any and all dog breeds. I, on the other hand, figured that her defiant behavior was something that would disappear quickly as she got used to the family. But this wasn’t happening. Not only was she defiant, but she would jump on our 10 year-old cat Tigger and she nipped at my children when they got too close. Soon I realized that I had a big problem on my hands and if I couldn’t train my dog properly, there was no telling what a full-grown aggressive pit bull could do to a human being or a small animal.

My concern grew so quickly that I went and bought the book: “Cesar’s Way” by Cesar Milan, better known as the “the dog whisperer.” I also bought other magazines and read up on a few different articles on dog behavior, but Cesar’s book was the most helpful tool.

I learned through reading and a lot of observation that Princess’ aggression was triggered by fear and she was only trying to protect herself. She was so young when we brought her home that assuming that she had been abused could be very erroneous as some dogs suffer from fear due to other conditions. But my love for animals, especially pit bulls as I learned that they are so misunderstood and that they can make such wonderful companions, gave me the determination to make the time and have the patience that has made me bond with this animal more than I ever have to any other animal in my life.

I learned to correct any undesired behavior immediately and that training brings you closer to each other. I also got my children involved in training her and rewarding her with treats. Slowly she learned that aggression was unacceptable and that she had to obey everyone in the house and respect our cat.

Change didn’t come about fast, but anyone familiar with our dog can pet her safely even when she is eating. She is not obsessive with any toys or objects and she has also learned to release or surrender anything upon command. I think I successfully turned a potentially dangerous animal into the pet EVERYONE in my family loves and plays with. My children are so comfortable around her that they can safely get Princess to her crate and close the door when we have to either clean the floors or we had a guest who isn’t comfortable around pit bulls.

My wife who was afraid of any and all dogs now loves them, and this gives me great satisfaction. Our new found love and respect for this breed has made me become a vocal advocate of this breed and I don’t waste a chance to educate others and share my personal experience with the dog that I love as my best friend…Princess.

Al’s story demonstrates why breed-specific legislation won’t stop dog attacks as much as training will. Thanks to Al and his family, Princess is able to live Life to the MAX!

Send us YOUR funny dog photo, cute puppy picture or tell us the story of your dog and you could win a copy of our book. Have a GREAT day!