Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 4, 2014

Honeybun state of mind: Peacefulness found in the face of a smiling dog

— — “It should have been easy.” Those are the famous last words of many a frustrating endeavor. I experienced such last week when I embarked on the attempt of tweeting two pictures of my three beloved dogs.

For those who don’t keep up with obscure holidays, May 1 was National Purebred Dog Day, and the American Kennel Club was capitalizing on the event with an intense social media campaign. Throughout the day, I viewed photos of every dog breed imaginable on my Twitter feed. From beagles to bull terriers, smiling, happy pups greeted me at every scroll on my iPhone and iPad.

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Let’s pause for a moment to note I am not a snobby dog owner. Throughout my life I have owned countless strays and purebreds. Many a mutt has found a healthy meal, warm bed and forever home at our house. We don’t discriminate. A wagging tail is a wagging tail.

That said, current circumstances have led us to having three purebreds in our family — two yellow Labs and one giant, slobbery Neapolitan mastiff. The Labs, Honey and Penny, were littermates who came to us through adoption from two different homes. Their owners, my family and friends, could no longer keep them. Pugsley, the Neo, was a choice. When we moved back into the rural, isolated “homeplace” where I grew up years ago, we needed a dog for protection. Now at nearly 200 pounds, Pugsley fits the bill.

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At first I ignored the purebred Twitter messages. But soon I was worn down by cuteness overload. It was a steady stream of adorable dogs. By day’s end, my competitive nature kicked in. If they wanted adorable dogs, I would show them adorable.

Arriving home that evening, I began scrolling through my phone and tablet looking for cute pictures. None were up to my standards, so I headed to the home computer and the photos taken with my professional grade camera.

After a few minutes of searching, I found the photos I wanted to tweet. But I then discovered that I could not post the pictures to Twitter from my desktop. My best bet, I surmised, was to email the photos to the husband’s phone, and have him text them back to me.

Why, you may ask, didn’t I email them to my own phone? The answer stems from a perfectionist characteristic and the inability to decide which email is best for my relatively new smart phone. The work email account is ruled out due to the abundance of spam and hundreds of political campaign messages I receive during a 24-hour period. (Nope, I don’t want to hear about the so-called best candidate, Democrat or Republican, during my off hours). As for the alternatives, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo, I am still undecided.

With no account on my phone, I hit the button to send them to the husband. I was greeted by the Spinning Wheel of Death. My Internet had slowed to a crawl. I surmised that two or three of the 50-some people residing in my community had logged on and overloaded the system.

After an hour of frustration, the photos finally transmitted. The husband texted the images to my phone, and I finally tweeted them. But by the end of the process I was stressed and aggravated.

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Glancing into the hallway I saw Honeybun relaxing contentedly. Noting my attention, she flashed a doggie grin and quickly flipped 90 degrees. Resting on her back, with paws in the air, she smiled and patiently awaited a belly rub. At that moment I wanted to be her.

But let’s pause again and discuss pet names. How did she become “Honeybun?”

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Honey was originally my mother’s dog, but we soon learned that puppy quirks and antics were not a good fit for a woman suffering from serious heart disease. Chewed-up oxygen cording and puppy nips to someone taking high doses of blood thinning medication presented serious problems.

Honey moved to our home, and her name quickly evolved. Soon she was “Honeybun,” then “BunBun” and, on super-cute occasions, simply “Bun” or “Bunny.”

When Penny joined our family her name, too, transformed. “Pinky” became the pet name of choice, but this morphed into “Pink” and “Pinkie Pie.”

Despite his stern demeanor, Pugsley the mastiff is also the recipient of nicknames — “Pugs,” “Pugs Muffin” and, my personal favorite, “Muffin Stuffin’.”

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Watching Bun relax in the hallway, I realized how frazzled I am. When Twitter and slow Internet service spur anxiety, it’s time for a break. With a week off work in my forecast, I look forward to a much-needed rest from the newsroom madness.

Glancing toward BunBun, I smiled. She wagged her tail in response.

I walked toward her for the obligatory belly rub, and in that instant grasped my vacation goal — I wanted her zen, her calmness, her happy. I wanted a Honeybun state of mind.

With hope, seven days of planting flowers, hiking and even spring cleaning will bring me to a peaceful place.

Seeing the grinning face of my Lab, I know it’s a goal worth working toward.

Samantha Perry is editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at sperry@bdtonline.com. Follow her @BDTPerry.

 

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